Global partners have been told Barbados considers the blue economy the key-driver for job-led growth.
The affirmation came from Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, as she addressed a recent IDB Invest webinar entitled: Accelerating Blue Bonds Issuances in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was viewed by over 300 virtual participants.
Minister Caddle, noting that the island established its Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy as a sector where Barbadians can participate in growth by establishing maritime-based businesses and accessing high-wage jobs, said: “The blue economy is at the centre of everything we do; at the centre of the way that we live; we see it as a way to greatly expand opportunities for people but we also see it as a way to generate investment opportunities and to make sure that we are able to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the time that we have set.”
Emphasising the importance which the country placed on being able to take advantage of the marine environment to create opportunities, she said this comprised everything from tourism to energy to marine technology, health and nutrition, bio-economy and biotechnology and marine industrial services, including transport and logistics.
Further acknowledging the blue economy’s contribution to the expansion of the gross domestic product, sustainable development and to ensuring healthy relations between people and the ocean, Ms. Caddle stressed: “If we don’t protect the environment while we are able to benefit from it, all of that would be in vain.”
She noted that a number of clear areas of investments were developing for Barbados and these ranged from sea moss farming, a growing industry worldwide, to electric boat design to make sure Barbados also aligned its blue economy targets with mitigation targets to be fossil fuel free by 2030.
Ms. Caddle also pointed out that the island had interest in offshore wind, solar and hydrogen energy generation and storage.
In acknowledging that 100 per cent of Caribbean people lived in coastal areas, she noted that Barbados’ marine space was 424 times its land space and this meant that from its legacy of fishing to boat building to everything surrounding that industry, the country now had the opportunity to modernise a sector that had supported families for decades, and create opportunities for new generations of those families.