Despite the adverse effects of the pandemic, the good news is that it has given the world an opportunity to enhance and rebuild.
This, coming from Invest Barbados’ CEO Kaye-Anne Brathwaite, who delivered remarks at the recently held virtual Island Finance Forum 2021, of which Invest Barbados was a sponsor.
According to her, “We need to be more resilient. We need to diversify our markets and our industries. We need to lessen our dependency on tourism in the future and ensure that we do not have all our eggs in one basket. For an economy like ours, this means that we must develop other foreign exchange earning sectors, as we set our economy on a sustainable recovery trajectory.”
With ‘Reset; Recover; Rebuild’ being the national priorities of Barbados over the short to medium term, Brathwaite noted that Barbados’ economic forecast for 2021 was positive, as was the case for the country’s economic partners, with moderate growth expected.
In describing her prescription for sustainable recovery generally, the CEO noted that a “more even and effective roll out of vaccines, especially to Developed and Island States” was needed. Additionally, sustainability recovery would include a collaborative approach in initiating new public-private partnerships while strengthening existing ones; a focus on developing new training and opportunities for the unemployed through access to training and institutional strengthening; diversification of the economy and continuing emphasis on improving the ease of doing business, among others.
Brathwaite also highlighted the steps Barbados was taking towards sustainable recovery through the containment of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.
“Barbados was the first independent Caribbean nation to roll out its national vaccination programme. One in five Barbadians have received the first of two doses, and Barbados’ vaccine rate is the tenth highest in the Americas and the second most vaccinated country in the Caribbean.”
The CEO also mentioned the Welcome Stamp initiative, which was a first in the Caribbean, and demonstrated Barbados as “an ideal jurisdiction in which to live, work and play – and invest.” She noted that to date, Barbados had attracted over 2500 Welcome Stampers, some of whom have made investments since coming to reside on island.
Brathwaite pointed out Barbados’ accelerated drive towards digitisation and the thrust to increase digital payments across private and government services, which enhanced the country’s competitiveness and ease of doing business.
Another element of Barbados’ value proposition in the country’s efforts towards sustainable recovery include embracing Green Technology by building on Barbados’ leadership in the solar water heater space in the Caribbean.
“…we are transiting into solar voltaic and wind in particular and other forms of renewable energy. Already, the Government of Barbados has set 2030 as the year when the country will be generating 100% of its energy from renewable sources.”
Brathwaite also mentioned the ongoing promotion of Barbados as a “globally compliant, transparent and well-regulated domicile”, which remain critical to the country’s progress, as well as Barbados’ continued efforts to implement new economic policy initiatives.