Barbados is the latest Caribbean country to launch an online investment guide (iGuide).
The one-stop repository, which provides foreign investors with up-to-date information on opportunities and conditions for doing business in countries, was unveiled today during a launch at Invest Barbados.
The site, www.theiguides.org/barbados, provides a comprehensive overview of business and labour legislation, various taxes including corporation, property, the value added tax, custom duties, double taxation agreements, details on accommodation and construction in Barbados and other information. It can be translated in any language.
iGuides were conceptualized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Chamber of Commerce.
The local iGuide was facilitated in collaboration with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPRA) and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
Chief Executive Officer of Invest Barbados, Kaye-Anne Brathwaite, said the iGuide platform was essential as it provides current information such as legislation, the steps and costs for starting a business on island, investment opportunities and the country’s business environment.
“We are confident that the launch of the Barbados iGuide site will augment the country’s efforts of making it easier for investors to do business in and with Barbados. We know that iGuide represents best practice in the provision of information to the investors and we anticipate that the iGuide will be a tool 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 who would consult UNCTAD’s portal while shortlisting potential locations,” Ms. Brathwaite said.
She said the research department of Invest Barbados would be responsible for regularly updating the website when changes arise and when new information becomes available.
Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD, Ian Richards, explained that the iGuides allow investors to understand what is involved in investing and operating within a country.
It is designed to complement the Invest Barbados website because it brings together information that would otherwise be scattered online or might not be online.
Mr. Richards said the process started in October 2019. He said the site was very flexible and would be linked to the Invest Barbados website.
“It operates from a common platform that allows comparison of information across different countries… Currently we have 36 countries that are being covered and six in the Caribbean, with Barbados being the sixth to be launched.”
The UN official added that a Caribbean investment portal would be created by using the iGuides from each regional country.
“The idea is not just to promote Barbados but to promote the whole Caribbean as a market for investment opportunities…. because companies that do well in any of the countries and territories here and are able to meet the challenges of operating on small islands will be able to do well in many other countries. And, if you can present the big market, which is the Caribbean, you would be much more successful in attracting investment,” he maintained.
In addition to Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Curacao, Jamaica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have iGuides. St. Kitts as well as Turks and Caicos are currently working on theirs, while there are plans to get Trinidad & Tobago on board.