Invest Barbados is the government’s economic development agency, tasked with attracting, winning and sustaining international investment for Barbados. The corporation is also responsible for helping to develop and manage the Barbados international business brand. Sandra Payne, the organisation’s CEO, spoke to The Report Company about what makes Barbados the obvious choice for foreign investors.
The Report Company: What are your main priorities?
Sandra Payne: We are the investment promotion agency for the government of Barbados, and our task is to attract and facilitate foreign direct investment and international business to Barbados. We have been doing this as an organisation for almost 10 years, but Barbados itself has been in the business of attracting foreign direct investment and international business for as long as we have had independent status. Our first international business companies act was enacted in 1965. We are a very attractive and mature location for international businesses. The main types of international businesses that Invest Barbados is responsible for attracting include financial services, manufacturing and ICT enterprises. We are also seeing interest in renewable energy, as well as in health tourism projects.
TRC: What does Barbados offer to foreign companies?
SP:What makes Barbados attractive to global investors is our expanding treaty network and the range of incentives that we offer. Central to the value proposition that Barbados offers is the treaty network that we have established, which includes 36 double taxation treaties and nine bilateral investment treaties that are currently in force. We have a very stable political and economic environment. We also have a cost-effective and well-regulated business environment, a very knowledgeable and skilled workforce, and of course the quality of our lifestyle is attractive to investors as well. In essence, several factors combine to make Barbados attractive to global investors.
“What makes Barbados attractive to global investors is our expanding treaty network and the range of incentives that we offer”Tweet This
TRC: How does your work contribute to economic development in Barbados?
SP: A key part of what we do involves the attraction and facilitation of international investment, so from the time an investor expresses an interest in Barbados, we ensure that the investor has enough information to make an informed assessment about the opportunity to establish a financially viable and sustainable project in Barbados. Once the decision is made to invest, we also assist with the process of establishment. Additionally, we encourage existing investors to expand their operations in Barbados. Of course we collaborate with other development agencies and government departments to sustain economic development.
TRC: What type of investors do you seek to attract?
SP: We seek to attract investors that will have a long and successful existence in Barbados. We seek out investment that contributes to foreign exchange earnings, to tax revenues, and to the transfer of skills and knowledge to the local workforce. Sustainable development is very important to us.
“We seek to attract investors that will have a long and successful existence in Barbados. We seek out investment that contributes to foreign exchange earnings, to tax revenues, and to the transfer of skills and knowledge to the local population”Tweet This
TRC: Where do you see intersections of interest with the UK?
SP: In the past, we have attracted significant investment from the UK market, particularly in real estate projects, and we think that the potential for further investment in that area is good. We have a programme to attract high net worth individuals and we believe that the potential to attract this kind of investor is good.
TRC: How would you like to see this organisation evolve?
SP: We intend to continue work with all stakeholders in maximising the opportunities that come our way. We intend in our traditional as well as in newer markets to pursue new areas of investment, while ensuring that our existing investors continue to be happy that they have chosen Barbados. Most importantly, we will remain a key partner to assist Barbados realise its vision of becoming the international financial and wealth management centre of choice in the Western Hemisphere.
TRC: What would be your final message about Barbados?
SP: Barbados is open for business. Barbados welcomes international business, and for investors interested in enhancing their global competitive advantage, we invite them to contact us.