On the first of May 2023, the leaders of the government of Barbados, the private sector and the labour movement, each electronically signed the Declaration of Mission Barbados. This document outlined six broad goals or “missions” which the tripartite Social Partnership in Barbados has agreed to achieve by 2030. These goals are designed to be the catalyst for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Barbados. The six missions under the Deceleration of Mission Barbados as agreed by the Social Partnership are:

  1. By 2030, become a clean and beautiful large-ocean state, championing sustainable development locally and globally – with the goal of all domestic activities becoming 100% sustainable by 2035.
  2. By 2030, transform Barbados into a country of active, involved citizens. All Barbadians will feel empowered and engaged in the social, economic, and cultural development of the country as confident, creative, compassionate and entrepreneurial citizens.
  3. By 2030, ensure that every Barbadian has equitable and reliable access to clean water and nutritious food that are affordable.
  4. By 2030, create a society that prioritizes wellness and happiness. Improve public health and safety, leading to a 50% reduction in new cases of non-communicable diseases and a 50% reduction in crime.
  5. By 2030, empower and enfranchise all Barbadian workers and families by creating opportunities for ownership and wealth creation that enable Barbadians to take better care of themselves and each other and reduce the rate of poverty by 50%.
  6. By 2030, transform Barbados to be a high-functioning, resilient society with seamless access to services and meaningful digital inclusion for all Barbadians.

The economic plan related to how Barbados intends to pivot its economy to achieve these goals is referred to as the Barbados Mission Economy. The Barbados Mission Economy is key to all potential investors in Barbados as it outlines the development and economic priorities of the people of Barbados. It is expected that the government of Barbados will increase its investment promotion activities in the areas of environmentally sustainable industries, the cultural and creative industries, agriculture, health and wellness, cooperative investment schemes and digital technologies since these are the six main economic sectors which are expected to drive the economic growth trajectory in Barbados under this framework. Though not articulated as yet, it is expected that some degree of incentives, regulatory, financial or both will be announced by the government of Barbados’ in these areas. As a result, Barbados is expected to be a more attractive domicile for companies with sustainable and inclusive business models.

Given that the mission economy agenda is designed to increase economic growth, then the participation and buy-in of the private sector is critical to the success of this initiative. The board of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) has holistically embraced this framework and has supplied the government of Barbados with an extensive submission on business friendly means to execute this agenda. However, for many members of the BPSA this is merely an endorsement of their existing business models. For example, many financial institutions have been offering preferential interest rates on green investments to ensure Barbados can achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral. Similarly, enterprises in Barbados have been empowering their employees through profit sharing initiatives. With the implementation of the mission economy initiative, these schemes and others like them are expected to expand.

As noted, the BPSA has already identified a number of ways to maximize the benefits of this initiative. These suggestions are broad-based policy reforms as well as Public Private Partnerships which aim to ensure that investors can receive stable returns over the long to medium term in a predictable and transparent manner through the pursuit of these missions. However, the full implementation of this policy will require specialist skills and a quantum of investment beyond the current limitations of the Barbadian economy. Therefore, foreign direct investment will be a key component of this strategy. In this regard, the BPSA encourages potential external investors to monitor official channels for changes in the regulatory environment as well as publications on solicitation of investment in the key sectors identified by the relevant authorities.