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Barbados recorded an 11.8% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2022.
This is according to the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Cleviston Haynes, who recently presented the country’s economic review for January to March 2022.
Barbados’ economic growth has been mainly supported by tourism, which has seen the highest levels of long-term arrivals to the country since the start of the pandemic, but has yet to return to pre-Covid levels. The production of goods for export markets also contributed to the increase in GDP. Other sectors that saw growth in the first quarter of this year included the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, which saw increased growth of 5.4% and 3% respectively.
Although Barbados’ economy is currently on a positive trajectory, the uncertainty associated with external developments remains a concern.
Referring to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, Governor Haynes explained: “The longer the conflict and the harsher the sanctions, etc., against Russia, the more likely it is that prices, whether of oil or international foods, could increase. and if that happens, obviously it has a national impact because… being a small open economy that imports a lot of what we consume, then we would be importing those high prices…”
Another concern continues to be the COVID-19 pandemic, which although its spread and severity has diminished somewhat, the risk of any upsurge may still pose a threat to the global recovery.
Governor Haynes also noted that although Barbados has no control over external shocks, several initiatives could be implemented domestically to mitigate these shocks. These initiatives included continued investments in the renewable energy sector to strengthen the country’s competitiveness, reduce the cost of doing business, increase production and improve turnaround times. The government of Barbados has also recently introduced various measures in its recent financial economic statement to address the rising cost of living in the country.
Emphasizing that “a dollar saved in foreign currency is like a dollar earned in foreign currency,” the governor highlighted other measures that were needed to improve economic activity in the country, such as boosting domestic food production. to mitigate some of the rising costs and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, which over time would reduce Barbados’ import bill.
Barbados’ economy, which has grown for the past four quarters, is expected to experience a double-digit recovery for the remainder of 2022.
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