Quick Facts – Barbados
Capital: Bridgetown
Population: 276,900 (2014)
Official Language: English
GDP growth (%) 0.2%
GDP Per Capita: US$ 13,250 (2014)
Inflation: 1.9% (2014)
Unemployment: 12.3% (2014)
Labour force: 142,300 (2014)
Major Exports: Chemicals, rum, sugar, electrical components, other food and beverages
Major Imports: Consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel,  electrical components
Key Productive Sectors:

Finance and Business Services (31.33%),

Tourism (14.43%), Construction (3.92%), Manufacturing (4.24%),   Agriculture (1.71%)

Major Trading Partners: USA, CARICOM, UK, Canada, Germany, Japan
Government (type): Parliamentary Democracy
Governor General: Sir Elliot Belgrave
Prime Minister: The Rt. Hon. Freundel Jerome Stuart, Q.C.



When Barbados became independent in 1966, its economy was primarily mono-­‐crop, with as much as 60% of GDP directly attributable to the sugar industry. Ever since that time, successive governments have advanced deliberate policies to develop a more diversified economy, and to facilitate sustainable economic momentum on the island.

Barbados’  economy  is  largely  services  based  and  its  main  sector  contributors  are  tourism, financial  services  and  construction.  Services  are  augmented  by  smaller  scaled  manufacturing and agriculture sectors. The economy is a free market with local and international businesses co-­‐existing.


Barbadian culture is influenced by British and African traditions. The population is primarily of African descent but today’s culture has blended the two, influencing the way of life, food and music.

Barbados’ main international festival is Crop Over, the annual carnival that culminates in August. It is a celebration that encompasses the country’s African roots. Musically diversified, Barbados is also well known for international pop star Rihanna.

Bridgetown and its Historic Garrison is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. Architecturally rich, the area holds a myriad of traditional colonial architecture and showcases an important part of the country’s heritage.


Barbados has a literacy rate of approximately 98%. Education is based on the British model and is compulsory for children from age 5 to 16 years old.  Government schools are free at the pre-­‐ primary   (ages   3-­‐5),   primary   and   secondary   levels.   Children   generally   begin   their   pre-­‐ primary/primary  education  within  one  of  the  69  run  government  schools  or 27  privately  run schools, at the age of four. Secondary education is provided for children between the ages of 11-­‐18  years.   There  are  twenty-­‐two  Government  secondary  schools,  most  of  which  are  co-­‐ educational  and  six  private  secondary  schools.  Two  public  funded  schools  for  children  with special  needs  also  exist.  Tertiary  level  education  is  available  at  four  government  owned institutions.  Government  provides  substantial  finance  to  the  University  of  the  West  Indies  -­‐ Cave   Hill   Campus   -­‐   through   the   payment   of   economic   costs   for   Barbadian   students. Approximately 20% of government’s annual budget is dedicated to expenditure on education.

Labour Standards:

Barbados has a number of labour laws that define the rights and responsibilities of employees, employers  and  representative  groups.  Labour  laws  cover  industrial  relations,   occupational safety and health, and labour standards. Barbados is also a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and has ratified several of its conventions.


Barbados has one local television station which is government owned. Approximately 19 radio stations, a number of them are government owned, and three main daily newspaper publications exist.

  • Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (Government owned): cbc.bb
Radio (partial list)
Targeted Sectors for Investment:
  • Tourism development including medical tourism
  • International banking
  • International insurance
  • ICT/BPO services
  • Wealth management
  • Niche manufacturing
  • Renewable Energy
Targeted Sectors for Export
  • Tourism
  • Medical tourism
  • Creative industries
  • ICT/BPO services
  • Craft & textiles
  • Light manufacturing (including condiments and beverages)
Bilateral Investment Agreements/International Investment Agreements signed:

Barbados has signed agreements with the following:

  • Belgium-­‐Luxembourg Economic Union (awaiting ratification)
  • Canada
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Germany
  • Ghana (awaiting ratification)
  • Italy
  • Mauritius
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Venezuela
Double Taxation Agreements signed:

Barbados has signed agreements with the following:

  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Botswana
  • Canada
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Czech Republic

1 The CARICOM DTA comprises 10 countries

  • Finland
  • Ghana (awaiting ratification)
  • Italy (awaiting ratification)
  • Iceland
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Portugal (awaiting ratification)
  • Qatar
  • San Marino
  • Rwanda (awaiting ratification)
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates (awaiting ratification)
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Venezuela
Tax Information Exchange Agreements in force:

Barbados has signed agreements with the following:

  • Colombia (awaiting ratification)
  • Denmark
  • Faroe Islands
  • Greenland
  • South Africa
  • USA
Trade & Other regional agreements signed:
  • CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)
  • EU-­‐CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement
  • CARICOM-­‐Costa Rica
  • CARICOM-­‐Cuba
  • CARICOM-­‐Colombia
  • CARICOM-­‐Venezuela
  • CARICOM-­‐Dominican Republic
  • CARICOM-­‐Canada

Cost of Doing Business

Corporate Income Tax Rate 25%, except where certain entities benefit from special incentives
Personal Income Tax Rate

Income BDS$                         Taxable rate


Up to      US$12,500                Exempt


Between US$12,501-­‐                16%


Over        US$ 35,000              33.5%

Average hours per week 40
Average cost of electricity (per kWh for businesses)

First 100 kWh: US$0.11; Next 400 kWh: US$0.13; Next 1,000 kWh: US$0.16; Over 1,

500 kWh: US$0.18. (Does not include fuel charge which fluctuates with changes in the price of oil)

Average cost per sq. ft., for office space in the central business district US$13.08 – $30 per year
Average cost per sq. ft., for industrial space in the central business district US$4.08 – $7.56 per year
  • Courtyard Marriot
  • Hilton
  • Radisson
  • Sandy Lane
  • Sandals


  • Cable & Wireless/Flow

Financial Services

  • CIBC
  • First Citizens
  • Royal Bank of Canada RBC
  • Scotiabank

Shipping & Logistics

  • DHL
  • UPS
  • Western Union

International Organisations

  • UNDP


  • A|X Armani Exchange
  • Bulgari
  • Burberry
  • Cartier
  • Chopard
  • Colombian Emeralds
  • Damiani
  • Diamonds International
  • Gucci
  • Hugo Boss
  • Little Switzerland
  • Longchamp
  • Louis Vuitton
  • A.C.
  • Michael Kors
  • Payless Shoe Source
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Tag Heuer