Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin. (FP)

Barbados and Kenya are working to build a strong business alliance, and this should provide great benefits for Barbados.

Minister of Industry and International Business, Ronald Toppin, stated this today as he delivered opening remarks at the Kenya-Barbados Business Forum, at Hilton Barbados, Needham’s Point, St. Michael.

“With a population of 46 million, Kenya presents a wealth of opportunities for Barbadian producers. Not only as a market for our goods and services, but also as a source of expertise and commercial endeavours. There is growing interest in franchising and offshore manufacturing by Barbadian investors and businesses seeking to expand their global footprint across Africa. 

“As East Africa’s hub for communication, transport, and financial services, as well as being one of Africa’s leading economies, Kenya provides the long anticipated gateway to Africa whether it be for travel or trade. Reciprocally, Kenya is fast becoming the epicentre of technology in Africa and there is much we can learn from Kenya through this collaboration,” Minister Toppin pointed out.

The International Business Minister also noted that the alliance should generate “at least US$50 million in trade from products and services between the two markets by 2025”, in the areas of Tourism, Telecommunications and Digitisation, Finance and Investment, Renewable Energy and Offshore Oil and Gas opportunities, Biotechnology and Bio-trade and Exports. 

He added that “the brand of leadership and the companies participating” in the forum give an assurance that this is possible. 

He continued: “Despite the distance between our shores, we can be strategic and innovative in our approaches and partnerships, utilising the platforms of advancing technology to enhance the international business and financial landscape. Indeed, Barbados sees the partnership with Kenya as an important step in Barbados’ global thrust to be “the place to live and work.”

Minister Toppin also disclosed that there would be a push to expand trade in goods and services over the next four years, which should lead to greater opportunities within the Kenyan market for some of Barbados’ best products and services.

“Our health care services, in particular our eye care and fertility services, neurosurgical and cardiac services, medical devices including optical lenses, renewable energy solutions, education, training and consultancy services, labels and IT services are all areas in which we can do business in pursuit of that US$50 million target.

“We are also looking to develop new sources of economic growth with greater emphasis on our ocean economy and life sciences investments. We believe that a number of solutions for the challenges we face lie in our waters. In addition to the tremendous benefits from coastal solar energy and wave energy, Blue technology is opening up marine resources to obtain mariculture, cosmetics and health care products among others. In 2020, the global sea moss trade was estimated at US$84.3 billion, according to ITC trade data. Indications are that this market will exceed US$92 billion by 2025,” he said. 

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