Barbados was among the few small developing island states (SIDS) and one of only three Caribbean islands to experience increased foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to the jurisdiction in 2020, despite the global pandemic.
This is according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2021, which indicated that seven nations including Barbados, the Bahamas, Comoros, Grenada, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa and São Tomé and Príncipe, were the least affected by the downturn caused by COVID-19.
The pandemic resulted in reduced FDI inflows globally and particularly in the Caribbean, which contracted 36% to US$ 1.4 billion. However, Barbados was able to increase its inflows by 22% to US$ 262 million during that period.
The report also indicated that the United States of America followed by Canada, were the largest investors in SIDS, with their outward stock increasing over previous years. This is good news for Barbados. The World Investment Report forecasts that for SIDS, short- to medium-term recovery of FDI inflows will remain modest unless pre-existing vulnerabilities such as tourism, natural resources and poor connectivity with the world are tackled swiftly and efficiently.
Barbados continues to be proactive in its efforts to mitigate the economic fallout from its tourism industry, by being one of the first nations in the Caribbean to introduce a 12-month visa for persons desirous of living and working remotely in Barbados – the Barbados Welcome Stamp.
The government of Barbados has also ramped up its efforts to enhance the ease of doing business globally through its digitisation programme, which has seen several government agencies take their services online for a speedier and more efficient customer service experience.