Welcome to the 2024 edition of Business Barbados. This is the publication’s 26th consecutive annual edition, and my first as editor, with some big shoes to fill. 

Read the eBook version of Business Barbados 2024 here.

Our theme for 2024 is Future Proofing Barbados. If you could accurately see into the future, you would become a billionaire, almost overnight. At very least you’d buy the right lottery numbers for tomorrow’s draw. But future proofing isn’t about guessing or somehow foreseeing what’s ahead. It’s about preparing for whatever comes – the known and the unknown. 

For Business Barbados that means listening to you – our readers – and responding and evolving in terms of what we publish and how we deliver it to you. We know you love receiving our magazine each year, representing the best of the Barbados business community and investment opportunities, and showcasing it to the world. Many of you tell us that before you can sell your services overseas, you first have to sell Brand Barbados, and Business Barbados is your tool for doing that. 

We also know more of you are engaging with our content online. We are expanding our digital strategy and reactively publishing articles and news from our industry-leading contributors. Publishing online provides a wealth of data and insights on what you want to read and we are using this to plan ahead. We are expanding our digital space as a place for dialogue and debate within the business community. And we invite you to join that conversation by following us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, and to sign up for our newsletter

Now, let’s zoom out and look at the wider picture. The truth is, Barbados has been future proofing for decades. We’ve seen the economy evolve from mono-crop agriculture to include the well-established economic drivers of tourism and financial services. That evolution is continuing as we embrace digital banking, fintech and renewable energy. Even the traditional sectors like agriculture have levelled-up with a focus on value-added export commodities like our world-famous Barbados rum. And, of course, we are looking ahead and embracing technology-driven changes like AI and robotics. We know we must stay ahead of the curve and not get left behind. 

In many cases we know what’s ahead. 

We are preparing for the implementation of busnethe OECD’s Pillar Two of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Initiative – with sweeping changes announced in November 2023 to corporate tax rates. Barbados will be an early adopter – finding the right balance between staying competitive but compliant. 

We know that our climate is changing, and it will affect every aspect of our economy and our lives – from rising sea levels and global temperatures to extreme weather. And we are preparing for this at home and on the global scale. The Barbados government led by Prime Minister the Hon. Mia Mottley has been leading the global south not only in the fight for equitable climate financing, but also for a fundamental overhaul to the global finance architecture. Thanks to her efforts, spear-headed by the Bridgetown Initiative, we now have a Blue Green Bank to finance climate resilient development projects, with USD $250 million in capital. At COP28 held in Dubai in November 2023, progress was made with developed countries and multilateral lenders committing to expand the use of climate-resilient debt clauses. We are also expanding South-South relations and as a result of these diplomatic efforts, the Africa Export-Import Bank in 2023 opened its Caribbean office (the first branch outside of Africa) in Barbados, with USD $1.5 billion approved to fund public and private sector projects in CARICOM states. 

Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, with UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan at the Palace des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2023.

Barbados is also doing its part to reduce carbon emissions with bold net zero goals. A big part of this has been the rapidly moving transition to renewable energy. The uptake of residential and commercial photovoltaic systems has been so successful that the current challenges are around future proofing our electricity grid and expanding storage systems to accommodate the higher intake and inherent fluctuations from solar energy. 

Barbados, like many countries has an ageing population and declining birth rate. So we are exploring options to reverse and mitigate this, including immigration policies such as the long-term contribution that Welcome Stamp visa holders can make to Barbados – spending money, bringing skills, starting businesses and more. 

Barbados is a growing hub for the movement of people, goods and services. We are expanding our airlift to established destinations and initiating new direct flights to the Cayman Islands, Latin America, and discussions for the same to Africa. New markets, new demographics and new products are all being explored by the tourism industry to ensure we remain competitive in this sector, still one of the mainstays of our economy. Our port is expanding to include a dedicated container berth and to facilitate plans of becoming a transshipment hub for the region. 

To prepare for tomorrow, we are upskilling our workforce and rethinking the education system with a focus on technology and digital literacy. Our young people need to be flexible, creative and have strong critical thinking skills. Their education and training need to prepare them for the jobs of the future that don’t even exist yet. 

We are using data to inform decisions and priorities. The government has a big drive to digitalise public services, improve ease of doing business and ensure that the country continues to be an attractive and competitive jurisdiction for international business. In 2023 the government and private sector signed the Declaration of Mission Barbados, a bold plan to catalyse sustainable and inclusive growth, ensuring we are pivoting all facets of the economy to future proof Barbados. 

As we navigate an ever-changing global landscape, the need for adaptability and foresight has never been more critical. In this issue, we explore the strategies, innovations, and initiatives that are transforming Barbados into a resilient and forward-looking business hub. It is a vibrant and exciting time to live and do business in Barbados. 

Whatever the future holds, we are ready. 

Bring it on and come join us. 

Read the eBook version of Business Barbados 2024 here

Contact Danielle at danielle@millerpublishing.net