Known for being one of the Caribbean’s most idyllic islands, there’s much more to Barbados than beautiful beaches, sugar cane-based beverages, turquoise seas, and a certain famous daughter known as Rihanna. With a highly educated and skilled population, advances in digital and information technology, and a regulatory environment that encourages innovation, Barbados is a great place for business and investment, too.
Barbados is proud to be exhibiting at Expo 2020 Dubai in the Mobility District, and to introduce to the world – whether investor or visitor – nine things you might not know about the country, and why there’s much more to it than meets the eye.
- The world’s first search engine was invented by a Barbadian
Barbados native Alan Emtage created Archie, a pre-Web internet search engine that was able to locate information within FTP archives, and is widely considered to be the world’s first Internet search engine. He paved the way for the many digital and technological advancements that the island has subsequently pioneered.
- Barbados is a world leader in Blockchain
With its robust information and communications infrastructure combined with a highly educated and skilled workforce, and a government that supports and encourages innovation, Barbados has become a world leader in blockchain. It’s also home to Bitt, the first blockchain start-up in the Caribbean. And with the strong computer science programmes at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus helping to develop a new generation of savvy innovators, these advances are set to continue into the future.
- A Barbadian company created the world’s first blockchain-based digital currency for a currency union
Another Barbados tech innovation, DCash, a form of blockchain-based digital currency for the Eastern Caribbean created to help expedite transactions and serve people without bank accounts, was launched by Bitt earlier this year, in partnership with the Central Bank. Currently being used in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia, it is tied to the existing Eastern Caribbean Dollar, and is the first blockchain-based currency introduced by any of the world’s currency unions.
- Barbados has the 6th fastest fixed broadband in the Americas
As per Speedtest’s Global Index in September 2021, Barbados has the sixth fastest fixed broadband in the Americas, yet another reason for the nation to be considered a great place to do business.
- Barbados has one of the world’s highest literacy rates and free education up to tertiary level
Barbados has a literacy rate of 99.6% for over 16s, one of the world’s highest rates. Education in Barbados is based on the British model, and 20% of the government’s annual budget is spent on education, with free primary, secondary and undergraduate university education for nationals. The population is also highly computer literate, with a number of tertiary and training institutions providing opportunities for continuous skills development. Additionally, there are a number of government-owned tertiary institutions offering programmes in academic, vocational and technical areas, as well as teacher training.
All of this translates into a workforce that is highly educated, motivated, skilled in key areas such as information technology, and ready to take a leading role to develop future innovations.
- Barbados aims to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2030
Barbados has an ambitious plan to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by 100% and increase its reliance on renewable energy to 100% by 2030. The country is already a leader in this respect in the Caribbean, with a successful solar water heating industry, a recently developed photovoltaic industry, and a growing electric vehicle market. These successes provide a base for future innovations, such as wind power and biofuels.
The Barbados National Energy Policy, developed using a collaborative and inclusive effort, established the framework to move the country towards 100% renewable energy generation. Barbadians, as well as residents, are invited to challenge themselves and their current lifestyles to become Energy Champions, and the www.smartenergybarbados.com website offers several suggestions.
- There’s more to the island than beaches! Barbados’ Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison being awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, an outstanding recognition of its historic and cultural significance. The Garrison is also one of eight Cultural Heritage Conservation Areas on the island, with 115 listed buildings – a visit to the Barbados Museum and Historical Society provides an insight into the island’s history and heritage. Bridgetown today is also home to shopping, dining, and great walking where you can soak up its atmosphere and see its many landmarks.
Away from the town, you can sail, surf, explore caves and gullies, go on a food safari, discover music, dance and art. For a small island, there’s an extraordinary number of activities to discover, although if you just want to relax on one of the island’s more than 80 white sand beaches, you can be our guest.
- Barbados was among the first countries in the world to introduce a 12-month Welcome Stamp to digital nomads wanting to work remotely
Barbados offers an exceptionally warm welcome to digital nomads looking to work from paradise with the Welcome Stamp, a special 12-month visa enabling non-nationals to reside in Barbados for a full year as remote workers. One of the first countries in the world to introduce such a programme, the idea was championed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C, M.P., in order to offer an opportunity for people to work from one of the world’s most loved vacation destinations and to escape some of the stresses associated with Covid-19.
Barbados’ Atlantic Standard time zone means that it’s a convenient location for doing business with the Americas and Europe. Remote workers can make use of a wide variety of coworking space options, or just live the real digital nomad dream and take your laptop to the beach. Friendly people, efficient business services, reliable high-speed internet, safety and security, and beautiful natural surroundings all combine to make this an ideal choice for those opting to work from home, or work from paradise, as we prefer to think of it.
- Barbados will become a Republic on November 30, 2021
Barbados will transition to a Republic on November 30, 2021 with Dame Sandra Mason becoming the first Barbadian Head of State. Barbados will continue to fly the same flag, celebrate the same Independence Day, use the same currency, and maintain the same name – Barbados – when it changes status.
Join us at the Barbados Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai to learn more about our island. Located in the Mobility District, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome from our team who are excited to connect with visitors from the United Arab Emirates and around the world. With the theme “Innovation and Transformation… From Sugar Cane to Blockchain”, join us to discover who we are, where we came from and where we’re going, as well as our innovative heritage, agricultural past, economic growth, and our vision and innovations in sustainable and digital technologies. We look forward to welcoming you!