President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), John Howard (centre), chatting with Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (right) and Minister of International Business and Internationl Transport, Goerge Hutson, at??a cocktail??reception to launch International Business Week.

A Barbadian success story!

This is how the local International Business sector is being described, some 40 years after the enactment of the International Business Company Act.

Addressing a cocktail reception to launch the inaugural International Business Week last evening, President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), John Howard, said the sector had played a significant role in the island’s economic growth since its enactment in the 1960s, albeit unrecognised by the general public.

"That success is reflected in Barbados’ excellent standing in the region – most recently being ranked third most competitive nation in the Caribbean and Latin America region by the World Economic Forum.

"However, until recently that story has not?? had a great circulation. I think we all have to admit that there is still an element of a disconnect between the Barbadian general public as to what these enterprises and investors actually mean to Barbados. Therefore, the main aim of this week is to make the public aware of the strategic importance of the sector, in particular, the high standard of living enjoyed by all Barbadians," he said.

Identifying one of the major spin-offs of the week as the effective public-private partnership between BIBA’s strategic partners, Mr. Howard surmised that these relationships could only augur well for the future of the local sector.

He, however, cautioned of the need for a deliberate and careful approach:

"We might not always run at the speed of the hare in Barbados, but we’ve seen in the past 18 months that the fastest doesn’t always win the race. But, a more deliberate, cautious, inclusive approach of getting buy-in from all stakeholders has served Barbados well – not just in international business, but in the form of the social partnership that differentiate Barbados at the national level. "

Despite the sector’s success, the BIBA President underscored the need for improvement.

"… I don’t want to sugar coat it. These are trying times and there are areas that we need to address and improve upon," he urged.

International Business Week is being observed October 5 – 9, under the theme: ???International Business in Barbados – Embrace the opportunities’.

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