In this our 15th editi on as publisher of the Barbados International Finance and Business magazine, I can state with confidence that Barbados is future ready and poised for growth.
Long revered as a respected domicile for international business and an att ractive tourism product, Barbados remains a trusted financial centre that facilitates global expansions and profitability. Consistently cognisant of the need to guard our international standing, we have earned our place rank among the top 10 offshore capti ve insurance domiciles globally.
Barbados has also successfully diversified - and is now well known for its expanded menu, including ICT, niche manufacturing, renewable energy, global education, fintech, nearshoring and niche tourism, to name a few. Added to that mix are other exciting emerging sectors such as biopharma and biosciences. Some call us 'The Silicon Valley of the Caribbean'; others have dubbed us 'Unicorn Island' – because innovation is at home here.
One such innovation that Barbados is pioneering is a Metaverse Embassy, using 'technology diplomacy' that leverages technology and places Barbados on the global stage, extending its digital reach and positioning the country to exploit whatever wealth generating opportunities that exist within this new and emerging digital metaverse space. In November 2022, Barbados became the first country with an embassy in the metaverse.
Another innovation of global significance, especially to developing nations, is Barbados' Bridgetown Initiative. This proposal brings the current climate crisis to the fore on a global scale, highlighti ng the issues faced by small economies like Barbados with each degree change in global temperature and addresses the immediate needs of countries facing these challenges. The proposal earned early public praise from France and the USA and also from the Internati onal Monetary Fund, and if successful, will transform how lending is made to developing nati ons in a climate crisis.
Barbados continues to enjoy thriving business and other relations worldwide – we cherish our existing clients, while exploring and engaging new markets and sectors. We have notably expanded our focus and deepened our engagement with the African market – a market that has experienced remarkable growth, possesses tremendous potential and offers endless opportunities for investment, trade, innovation, technology, culture and other exchanges. Central to solidifying Barbados' cooperation with the African region are key strategic partnerships. Barbados has established diplomatic missions in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya, as well as an Honorary Consulate in Kigali, Rwanda. Invest Barbados has a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Rwanda Development Board and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to boost business and commercial exchanges. Additionally, a Bilateral Air Services Agreement with Rwanda now exists, to strengthen air transport cooperation between the two countries.
Global headlines have announced the African Export-Import Bank's (Afreximbank's) intent to establish a presence in Barbados to serve the region. Together with the Bank, Team Barbados hosted the inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) 2022 last September. Over 1,200 participants from 41 African countries and 16 Caribbean countries participated. ACTIF 2022 led to 14 agreements and MoUs, aimed at deepening economic ties between Africa and the Caribbean, including a Partnership Agreement between Afreximbank and several Caribbean nations. Continuing with the 'good news story', Afreximbank has approved US$1.5 billion in trade financing for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states that have ratified the Partnership Agreement.
Barbados also recently established a National Growth Council, tasked with driving national growth, and one of its main pillars is an initiative called, Barbados Delivers. This initiati ve is aimed at accelerating productivity growth and improving the ease of doing business in Barbados. This initiative aims to reduce bureaucracy and strike a balance between fairness, effectiveness and consistency, thereby boosting business activity and contributi ng to further economic growth. Barbados is committed to delivering a productive and sustainable global business sector.
As the Invest Barbados team continues to execute our mandate to attract and retain quality investments and create jobs, we do so in collaboration with strategic and supportive partners, alliances and representatives globally. I therefore remain optimistic that the seeds we are sowing locally and internationally, as the national investment promotion agency of the Government of Barbados, will continue to bear fruit – now and well into the future.
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