In the 53 years since independence, Barbados has evolved from a low-income, sugar-dependent economy into an upper-middle income (world bank designation), moderately diversified economy with tourism and offshore financial services as its primary sectors. Despite global economic fluctuations, Barbados has continued to enjoy a positive image as a reputable international business centre across a variety of sectors.Barbados’ standard of living is one of the top reasons that people choose to invest here. With a per capita income of USD 18,866 on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and very strong social (health, gender, income, education) indicators, Barbados enjoys the second highest standard of living in the English-speaking Caribbean, the seventh highest standard of living in the Americas and is 58th among 189 countries in the 2017 UNDP Human Development Report.
Barbados’ English-speaking workforce is highly skilled and well-educated with a literacy rate that is fourth in the world (99.7 per cent).
Competitive business costs, modern Company legislation, favourable tax and business structures make Barbados a highly attractive jurisdiction from a regulatory and investment perspective. The country has earned a solid reputation for maintaining a stable and secure environment, while simultaneously ensuring that the investment climate and infrastructure continue to meet and exceed international standards.
Barbados’ investment climate has been consistently improving. With double taxation treaties in force with 40 countries, Barbados’ treaty network continues to expand, allowing investors to enhance their global competitive advantage via access to partners across both traditional and emerging economies.
Barbados has also developed a sophisticated technological infrastructure to support global business. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report ranked Barbados as third in Latin America and the Caribbean for availability of latest technologies for 2016-2017 and in 2015, the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report ranked Barbados as second in the Latin America and the Caribbean region for “network readiness”.
State-of-the-art air transportation facilities, provided by the Grantley Adams International Airport, currently accommodate traffic of 2.19 million passengers a year with representation across a variety of carriers including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Air Canada, JetBlue, Copa and Caribbean Airlines, among many others. Given that Barbados lies outside of the ‘hurricane belt’, weather issues are rarely a travel concern.
Barbados is among the world’s leading jurisdictions from which to establish a variety of businesses. Key areas that have been identified for investment include:
• Global education services
• Medical tourism
• Niche manufacturing
• Renewable energy
• ICT (including contact centres, claims processing, health information management and software development facilities)
• Insurance (captive and re-insurance)
• International sales and commerce
• Research and development
• Tourism and hospitality investment
In the area of fintech, for example, Barbados is home to the first blockchain start-up in the Caribbean. A regulatory sandbox has been established to facilitate further growth of the sector, which has been attracting an increasing growing number of companies.
Given its well-connected transportation system and highly-skilled labour force, Barbados provides the ideal infrastructure for niche manufacturing businesses. Government has created a number of incentives to encourage the growth of this sector. Manufacturers may qualify for customs duty exemption on the import of plant, machinery, equipment and raw materials used in the manufacturing process.
Renewable energy is another highly promising sector, with significant opportunities for investors and developers in the areas of solar, wind, waste to energy, biomass, cogeneration, biodiesel, bio-fuels and ethanol production. This is in keeping with the government’s objective to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by 30 per cent by 2030, which will achieve greater energy security, improve environmental sustainability and reduce expenditure on imported oil.
In short, Barbados has a proven track record. It is the fourth leading destination for Canadian direct investment abroad, having garnered Cdn $64.8 billion of direct investment from Canada at the end of 2018. The Telegraph recently selected Barbados as one its top countries to relocate, stating that “its main selling points include virtually free health care, low property tax, an average temperature of 26C and more than 27,000 British expats to help you feel at home.”
Barbados checks all the boxes for the ideal investment destination.
Trident Insurance Financial Centre
Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados