Region: Caribbean

Capital: Bridgetown

Population: 289,680 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 430 sq km

Currency: Barbadian dollar (BBD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity USD $25,100 (2013,CIA est.)

Background: The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.

Economy – Overview: Barbados is the wealthiest and most developed country in the Eastern Caribbean and enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America. Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. However, in recent years the economy has diversified into light industry and tourism with about four-fifths of GDP and of exports being attributed to services. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners and thrive from having the same time zone as eastern US financial centers and a relatively highly educated workforce. Barbados’ tourism, financial services, and construction industries have been hard hit since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008. Barbados’ public debt-to-GDP ratio rose from 56% in 2008 to 90.5% in 2013. Growth prospects are limited because of a weak tourism outlook and planned austerity measures. (CIA, 2013)

Major Export Commodities: manufactures, sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components

Remittances inflows: 82 million USD (World Bank 2012 est.)

Human Development Index 2013 ranking: 38 out of 186 countries

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: 

Net ODA US $16, 200, 0000 in 2010.
Major development partners include: E.U. Institutions,Canada, IDB Sp.Fund, Japan,GEF

Total External Debt: USD $4.49 billion (31 December 2012 CIA est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth: 74.99 years (CIA 2014)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 8.7
Forested Area (percentage of land area:19.4
CO2 Emissions (000 metric tons and metric tons per capita): 5.0
(UNDP 2013)

United Nations membership date: 9 December 1966

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of Barbados to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, 9th Floor
New York, N.Y.10017 USA
Telephone: 212-551-4300
Fax: 212-986-1030

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
World Development Indicators. World Bank
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Human Development Report 2013.United Nations Development Programme.

Updated January 2015