Barbados - Future trends

The continuing success story of Barbados, based on social fairness and democratic consultation, will largely depend on its ability to fend off competition in the tourism and service sectors. Agriculture will almost certainly continue to decline, while sugar production will survive only as long as the EU continues to subsidize it with preferential quotas and prices. Manufacturing, while strong in terms of local markets, cannot compete as a low-wage offshore activity. As a result, tourism and the new informatics industries will play an increasingly crucial role in generating foreign currency. But as recent experience has shown, both are highly competitive in a regional and global context, and Barbados will face difficulties in increasing its market share without considerable investment in advertising and training.

The greatest cause for concern is the island's huge trade deficit and continuing reliance on imports for everyday food items. Should another recession occur, Barbados would be extremely vulnerable to balance of payments problems and increased indebtedness, factors that might jeopardize the considerable strides made in the country's development since the 1970s.

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