While perhaps best known for its stunning beaches, rich culture and friendly people, Barbados has recently been focusing more on the advancement and development of its Life Sciences sector. The country’s well-educated, English-speaking population, stable political and economic environment, and a strong focus on science and technology make it an ideal destination for investment in this potentially viable sector. As such, investors can play a critical role in advancing the wide array of Life Science subsectors in Barbados, with Wellness, Agribusiness & Blue Economy, and BioPharma & Medical Technology offering particularly attractive partnership opportunities.

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Thanks to its high-quality healthcare facilities, skilled medical professionals, and favourable climate, Barbados is an ideal destination for the rapidly growing industry of health and wellness tourism. According to WHO data, “The wellness economy is a colossal global industry, estimated by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) at $4.5 trillion and representing roughly 5.6% of global economic output in 2017. By comparison, global health expenditures were estimated at $8.0 trillion in 2017.” Companies offering health and wellness packages in Barbados could tap into this growing trend of medical tourism.

These packages could include medical treatments and procedures, rehabilitation, and health and wellness programmes. Given the changing laws and debates within the United States of America at the state and federal level, companies could offer services to attract clients to a market that provides favourable conditions in terms of cost, near travel, language, and year-round sunshine. Companies can take advantage of the country’s favourable environment for health and wellness tourism based on Barbados’ longstanding tried and tested hospitality industry infrastructure. With several medical universities already in place and a well-established network of high-quality medical services in key areas such as Diabetes Treatment and Prevention, Nursing and Dental Schools, Recovery and Rehab, plus recently introduced Women’s Health Care, Barbados provides a compelling case for wellness investment.

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Agribusiness & Blue Economy

Although Barbados has been historically synonymous with the cultivation and export of sugar cane, the country has recently pivoted from the colonial-era crop to a greater focus on the wider development of its agribusiness. Investment opportunities exist for companies that are developing innovative technologies to improve agricultural processes in key products, many of which have a natural affinity for growth on the island and real potential for export. Further investment opportunities have been created by the country’s focus on the blue economy, particularly in sustainable fishing, aquaculture and mariculture, all sectors with everexpanding global markets. Worthy of note in this connection, in 2019 Barbados became one of the first countries to place a ban on single-use plastics.

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BioPharma & Medical Technology

BioPharma & Medical Technology represents another promising area for potential investment in the island’s life sciences sector. With a well-established infrastructure, sound regulatory framework, appropriately qualified and skilled local workforce, and attractive incentives already in place, Barbados has long proven to be a solid foundation for incoming companies to flourish and prosper on a global scale. Companies specializing in the development and production of biopharmaceuticals and medical devices could find a profitable opportunity in Barbados.

Additionally, as digital health continues to gain momentum globally, investing in companies offering health IT solutions in areas such as telemedicine, electronic health records, and patient management could offer other lucrative investment opportunities in Barbados.

In conclusion, as Barbados continues to provide the required enabling conditions of sound infrastructure, attractive incentives and well-regulated governance, the country and incoming investors are favourably positioned to capitalize on the attractive opportunities that abound within the Life Science space.