A “strong, though partial recovery” is on the cards for the Barbados economy during the first quarter of 2022.
This comes on the heels of the country’s economy recording growth of 1.4% in 2021, with international reserves at a healthy BDS$3.06 billion – equating to 40 weeks of import cover. Also of note, is that Barbados’ credit rating remained stable during the pandemic.
This positive news was revealed by the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Cleviston Haynes, who recently delivered the bank’s review of the nation’s economic performance for 2021.
“The bank is optimistic that a robust economic recovery will start in 2022. We have a very strong reserve buffer and we have a stable and liquid financial system to support this recovery.”
Governor Haynes however, noted that a strong recovery was buttressed by a favourable external environment, maximisation of the country’s human and financial resources, a fit for purpose educational system and sufficient training opportunities, among other factors necessary to improve productivity, innovation and investment. He was also mindful of the potential risks of newer strains of COVID-19 variants, which could further restrict travel and lead to a dampening of activity in the economy.
In explaining what was needed to diversify the Barbados economy away from tourism, Governor Haynes suggested that new investments which build on the knowledge and skills of the country’s citizens, were necessary. He used the example of the international business and financial services sector, which over the years, was able to utilise the services of its professionals.
According to Governor Haynes, the government’s strategy of building upon its educational focus on the sciences, such as computer, fintech or life sciences, was important to attract businesses while utilising local skills to further drive the economy. He also noted that diversification could take the form of several small sectors that will grow, create jobs and generate foreign exchange.
The Barbados government is committed to strengthening the fiscal position while fostering sustainable economic activity through meaningful structural reforms, including improving the business environment, and remains committed to the fiscal discipline needed for the sustainability of its debt over the medium term.