Goal Two: Advancing Economic and Social Well-being of Barbados

Barbados, because of its small size and the openness of its economy, was heavily reliant between 2000 and 2013 on: the export of goods and services and the attraction of investment; the procurement of development assistance in the form of concessionary loans and grant funds and other elements of economic cooperation; secure supplies of energy and a moderation of the impact of the processes of liberalisation, globalisation and international economic and financial rules. Between 2000 and 2013, Barbados secured BDS$ 246.4 million in grant funding from the European Union (Appendix 15) and BDS$ 47.2 million in financing grants from the People’s Republic of China (Appendix 16).

The economic priorities were the negotiation of trade and economic cooperation agreements; investment and double taxation treaties and information exchange agreements; assertive trade and investment promotion; securing an extended marine space; the systematic incorporation of the diaspora into the economic development matrix; the maximisation of the development contributions of the global community; and the deployment of an active effort to influence international decision-making and rulemaking on matters bearing uncomfortably on the economic circumstances of Barbados.

The important understandings associated with this goal were that:

  • Economic progress rested heavily on exports and the attraction of foreign investment
  • Vigorous efforts should be made to capitalise on the market and investment opportunities provided by the emerging economic powers.
  • The medium-term economic future was still dependent on the traditional markets of Canada, the United States and Europe, particularly the United Kingdom.
  • The search for new markets was best centred on niches for existing products.
  • Intensive efforts should be made to convert the diaspora into an important source of direct investment and skilled human resources, and to use the diaspora as a political and social lobby in the various jurisdictions.
  • Export-led recovery of Barbados rested on strong economic performance of the US, UK, Canada and the Euro-zone area.
  • Information and communication technology, properly harnessed, could significantly expand Barbados’ economic horizon.
  • The maximum use should be made of technical and economic cooperation arrangements in place with several countries and additional ones should be pursued.
  • The Doha negotiating round conducted in the WTO offered opportunities to secure benefits in critical areas for Barbados that were not possible in bilateral negotiations.
  • Traditional partners were in the forefront of the global adjustments to economic relations and a redefinition of our engagement with them was inescapable.