[Caribbean Literature]

Economy of Barbados

source: CIA World Fact Book 1997

Economy - overview: Historically, the Barbadian economy had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but in recent years the production has diversified into manufacturing and tourism. The start of the Port Charles Marina project in Speightstown helped the tourism industry continue to expand in 1996. The industry generated $331.8 million by the end of June and was expected to double by the end of the year. Prime Minister Owen ARTHUR called for "prudent" financial management to ensure that economic growth would continue. As part of his plan, the Prime Minister introduced a controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) in an effort to reform the tax administration process. The VAT will be administered at 15% for most industries and 7% for the tourism industry. The government has also continued its efforts to promote regional integration initiatives, to reduce the unacceptably high unemployment rate, and to encourage direct foreign investment.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $2.65 billion (1996 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3.5% (1996 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $10,300 (1996 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1.8% (1995)

Labor force:

Unemployment rate: 16.2% (1996)


Industries: tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export

Industrial production growth rate: 7.7% (1995)

Electricity - capacity: 153,000 kW (1995)

Electricity - production: 644 million kWh (1995)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 2,208 kWh (1995 est.)

Agriculture - products: sugarcane, vegetables, cotton

Exports: Imports:

Debt - external: $359 million (December 1996)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 Barbadian dollar (Bds$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Barbadian dollars (Bds$) per US$1 - 2.0113 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

[Main Web Page] [Caribbean] [Barbados]