The drive to ease doing business in Barbados received a boost on Friday, as an online one-stop-shop was launched for existing and potential investors to source up-to-date information about the country and various processes.
The online investment guide – iGuide – (www.theiguides.org/barbados) is a web portal that is intended to guide potential local and foreign investors who want to do business in Barbados.
The iGuide is the design of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in association with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA).
The state export promoter Invest Barbados, which will be responsible for updating the site, and the Caribbean Export Development Agency also partnered on the project.
The site is also linked with existing sites that relate to doing business in Barbados.
Chief Executive Officer of Invest Barbados Kaye-Anne Brathwaite told the gathering at the launching ceremony on Friday at the Invest Barbados office in Hastings she was optimistic that the new website would increase the island’s chances of improving the business climate.
She said: “We are confident that the Barbados iGuide site will augment the country’s effort of making it easier for investors to do business in and with Barbados.
“And we anticipate that the iGuide will be another tool that will help us to attract more foreign investment in line with our developmental needs.
“The website will widen our reach and put Barbados in front of global investors and business advisors who will consult UNCTAD’s portal while shortlisting potential locations.
“We look forward to tangible outcomes including creation of job opportunities from the businesses attracted as well as the generation of increased foreign exchange for our country.”
With the new portal in place, Brathwaite said she anticipated that officials would soon be better able to measure the true contribution of the international business sector to the Barbados economy.
“Definitely efforts are on, and as we constantly go forward to create efficiency throughout all of our units and organizations, the measurements and outcomes will have to be there,” she said.
Officials are promising that the new portal, which can be viewed in several different languages, would be reviewed every three months and updated with relevant information.
Dr Damie Sinanan, Manager of Competitiveness and Export Promotion with Caribbean Export, described the iGuide as “a major step for investment promotion agencies for Barbados and the entire CARIFORUM region”.
Dr Sinanan said he anticipated a reduction in cost and time to companies and potential investors due to their ability to now source relevant information in one location.
“Investment is very important in the economic development of Barbados,” he insisted.
UN Temporary Resident Coordinator in Barbados Cleveland Thomas said he saw the launch of the portal in Barbados as a support to some of the UN’s sustainable development goals, especially those relating to ending poverty, promoting decent work, economic growth and industry, innovation and infrastructure.
He said: “This online tool provide some excellent opportunity for small island developing states like Barbados to attract the types of investment required to meet the ambitious goals and targets set out in the 2030 agenda and the sustainable development goals.
“These goals are also in keeping with Barbados’ government ongoing efforts to promote investment in Barbados.”
Barbados joins over two-dozen countries and territories, including several Caribbean states, in launching the online gateway.