Region: Caribbean

Capital: Bridgetown

Population: 273,900 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 431 sq km

Currency: Barbadian dollar (BBD)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity $23,600 (2011,CIA est.)

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:
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. Growth has rebounded since 2003, bolstered by increases in construction projects and tourism revenues, reflecting its success in the higher-end segment, but the sector faced declining revenues in 2009 with the global economic downturn. The country enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region. 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. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, to encourage direct foreign investment, and to privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. The public debt-to-GDP ratio rose to over 100% in 2009-11, largely because a sharp slowdown in tourism and financial services led to a wide budget deficit. (CIA, 2012)

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

Remittances inflows:85 million USD (World Bank 2011 est.)

Human Development Index 2011 ranking: 47 out of 187 countries

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:US $16 million in 2010. Major development partners include: E.U. Institutions,Canada, IDB Sp.Fund, Japan,GEF

Total External Debt: $668 million (2003)

Life Expectancy At Birth:76.8 years

Environmental Indicators:

                                        Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 8

                                        Forested Area (percentage of land area:19.4

                                        CO2 Emissions (000 metric tons and metric tons per capita): 0.9

                                        (Data Source: UNDP 2011)

United Nations membership date: 9 December 1966

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of Barbados to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, N.Y.10017USA
Telephone: 212-867-8431, 8432, 8433, 8434, 8435
Fax: 212-986-1030.  E-mail:;


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 2011.United Nations Development Programme.

Updated July 2012