Economy of Sardinia

Economy of Sardinia
Taken as a whole, Sardinia's economic conditions are such that the island is in the best position amongst Italian regions located south of Rome.
The greatest economic development had taken place inland, in the provinces of Cagliari and Sassari, characterized by a certain amount of enterprise. According to Eurostat, the 2007 GDP was €33,823.2 million, resulting in a €20,627 GDP per capita, in 2009.

The Sardinian economy is penalized due to high costs of transportation of goods and electricity, which is double compared to the continental Italian regions, and triple compared to the EU average. Sardinia is the only Italian region that produces a surplus of electricity, which supply power to the region, and does not import power from abroad, whereas the problem the region had encountered was insufficient transmission links as it is an island situated over 100 km from the mainland. In 2009 the new submarine power cable Sapei entered into operation, it links the Fiume Santo Power Station, in Sardinia, to the converter stations in Latina, in the Italian peninsula, the SACOI is another submarine power cable that links Sardinia to Italy, crossing Corsica, from 1965. The under construction submarine gas pipeline GALSI, will link Algeria to Sardinia and further Italy, in 2012.

The per capita income in Sardinia is the highest of Southern Italy, with 16,540 euros per person.

The unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2008 was 8.6%, by the first quarter of 2010 the unemployment rate increased to 16.1%. The rise in unemployment was due to the global financial crisis that hit Sardinian exports, mainly focused on refined oil and chemical products.

The primary sector is still of outstanding importance, especially goat and sheep rearing (good production of cheese). Agriculture has been modernized on the Campidano plain (vegetables, citrus, rice), and Sardinian wines are famous. There is little fishing (and no real maritime tradition), but the once prosperous mining industry is still active though restricted to coal (Carbonia, Bacu Abis), antimony (Villasalto), gold (Furtei), bauxite (Olmedo) and lead and zinc (Iglesiente, Nurra). The granite extraction represents one of the most flourishing industries in the northern part of the island. The Gallura granite district is composed of 260 companies that work in 60 quarries, where 75% of the Italian granite is extracted. The cork district, in the northern part of the Gallura region, around Calangianus and Tempio Pausania, is composed of 130 companies and has become the driver of Sardinian economic development. Every year in Sardinia 200,000 quintals of cork are carved, and 40% of the end products are exported. Fishing along the coasts is also an important activity on the island. Portoscuso tunas are exported worldwide, but primarily to Japan.

The principal industries are chemicals (Porto Torres, Cagliari, Villacidro, Ottana), petrochemicals (Porto Torres, Sarroch), metalworking (Porto Scuso, Porto Vesme, Villacidro), cement (Cagliari), pharmaceutical (Sassari), shipbuilding (Arbatax, Olbia, Porto Torres), oil rig construction (Arbatax), and food (sugar refineries at Villasor and Oristano, dairy at Arborea, Macomer and Thiesi, fish factory at Olbia). Craft industries include rugs, jewellery, textile, lacework, basket making, and coral.

The Sardinian economy is today focused on the overdeveloped tertiary sector (67.8% of employment), with commerce, services, information technology, public administration and especially on tourism, which represents the main industry of the island with 2,721 active companies and 189,239 rooms. In 2008 there were 2,363,496 arrivals (up 1.4% on 2007). In the same year, the airports of the island registered 11,896,674 passengers (up 1.24% on 2007).
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