Barbados. According to COUNTRYAAH, Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados which is located in North America. The tourists flocked to Barbados like never before. During the first six months of the year, over 300,000 tourists visited the country, which is more than the total number of residents in the region. As in many of the neighboring countries, the economy is also largely dependent on the financial sector serving international players. Barbados therefore responded strongly to the fact that it was included in the list of tax havens that the EU had published in June.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Barbados country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
In September, Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and his Saint Vincent and Grenadian counterpart, Ralph Gonsalves, signed an agreement defining the sea border between the two countries. The agreement is historically in the sense that it is the first of its kind that Barbados has concluded with another country within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The same month, it was also announced that Barbados has received a US $ 10 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which will be used, among other things, to strengthen the social protection network for the country’s poorest residents.
Barbados is a former British colony, independent since 1966 and currently a member of the Commonwealth. Since independence, Barbados has built good relations with the United States and actively participates in international organizations in the region, most notably the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECs) and the Organization of American States. (Oas).
Formally Barbados is a monarchy whose head of state is Queen Elizabeth II of England, represented by a governor general; the legal system is based on the Anglo-Saxon Common Law and the country’s government is entrusted to a parliamentary system. The parliament is bicameral: the 21 members of the Senate are appointed by the governor general (12 on the opinion of the prime minister, two on the opinion of the opposition leader and seven chosen by the governor general), while the lower house is made up of 30 directly elected members for five years. The last elections of February 2013 were won by the Democratic Labor Party (Dlp) which, compared to the 2008 elections, lost its solid majority in parliament (16 seats out of the 30 total in the lower house) and must now counter the strong opposition of the ‘other main party, the Barbados Labor Party (Blp). Current Prime Minister Freundal Stuart, who has been in office since October 2010, faces the economic difficulties facing the country which led to its loss of popularity in the last election.
The population is made up of 80% of Africans and 4% of Europeans. The majority of the population (67%) is Protestant Christian, but there is also a Catholic minority (4%). Barbados ranks 59th in the Human Development Index ranking: while being second only to the Bahamas in the Caribbean region, this represents a significant deterioration from previous years, which saw Barbados in 38th place. To keep the island high in the indicators is the high public expenditure on education, equal to 5.6% of the GDP, which allows it to be among the five countries in the world with the highest literacy rate. However, the heavy fiscal deficit and growing public debt that have accumulated in recent years are forcing the government to reduce state spending and take unpopular measures. Most of the investments are concentrated in the tourism sector, which is not only a major driver of growth, but is also an important source of foreign currency. The crisis has caused a sharp contraction in the sector and the island is coping with it by implementing incentives and vouchers that attract tourists (who traditionally come mainly from the United Kingdom and the United States).
Offshore finance too, information technology and the manufacturing industry have developed, while the cultivation of sugar cane, once the country’s only source of income, continues to have a significant weight in terms of employment and exports. Barbados’ exports include chemicals and rum, and imports include numerous consumer, food and construction goods. Major trading partners include Trinidad and Tobago, a Caricom member, and the United States. Barbados is currently strengthening relations with China to attract investment. The country has some oil and natural gas fields and could keep others within its territorial waters: in 2015 the government authorized an Australian oil company to carry out exploratory drilling, which is still ongoing.