Barbados was recently commended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for making “good progress” with regards to implementing the Barbados Economic Recovery Transformation (BERT) plan, despite the various challenges the country has encountered including the global pandemic, the volcanic ashfall emanating from La Soufrière in St. Vincent and the impact from Hurricane Elsa.
This was stated in the December 2021 edition of the IMF Country Report for Barbados. Of note is that as part of the BERT programme, Barbados has successfully met all of its targets so far within the IMF’s extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility. As such, the country was able to draw the most recent tranche of funds, which equates to approximately US$24 million, to assist with the management of the economic affairs of the country.
Among the initiatives identified by the IMF, that will drive medium-term economic growth include reforms that will improve Barbados’ business climate, diversify the economy while facilitating green and digital transformation. The IMF also noted that in order to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) steadily over the medium and long term, accelerating structural reform under the BERT programme, geared to enhance business facilitation, was important, coupled with FDI into the tourism sector and renewable energy projects.
The country report also indicated that the Barbados economy was projected to experience modest growth of 1.6 percent for 2021, with the determining factor for greater economic growth being largely dependent on the duration and impact of the global pandemic, as well as the country’s increasing exposure to climate change risks. Due to the uncertainty that still exists globally, IMF directors have requested that Barbados authorities “maintain their strong reform momentum to boost potential growth, while ensuring a timely transition to fiscal consolidation to preserve debt sustainability.” Read the full report.