Barbados Looks to Rwanda for Support in Boosting Biotechnology Capacity

Prime Minister, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, has announced that the Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology, the Honourable Davidson Ishmael and Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados, Mark Hill, are to travel to Rwanda to explore opportunities in biotechnology.

During a recent press conference with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, PM Mottley said she is keen on building out a biotechnology platform in Barbados and believes that Rwanda can be instrumental in facilitating it. She revealed by travelling to Rwanda, Minister Ishmael and CEO Hill will explore what can be done to create tangible investment and cooperation in that area.

Before the press conference, officials from various ministries engaged in bilateral talks with the delegation from Rwanda, which was here on an official two-day visit. During the meeting, Rwanda’s intention to open a vaccine manufacturing plant was discussed.

“Our first interests of course is seeing what potential there is with the vaccine manufacturing entity that Rwanda is establishing, recognizing that the vaccine for COVID is just but one small commodity of what that manufacturing capacity can be for,” said PM Mottley, who is the co-chair of the One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Noting that the world will need new antibiotics to fight off the “super viruses”, she hinted at the potential for Rwanda and Barbados to work together to help fill that gap. She spoke of Rwanda being a leader in science and technology and having the university capacity to train people. The Prime Minister also noted that in Barbados, over the last five years, 6000 students graduated with science degrees from the Cave Hill Campus. She insisted there is a need to find employment opportunities for those graduates other than teaching.

“We have a solemn obligation to be able to build a platform for biotechnology and ICT and science and technology generally,” she contended.

Biotechnology is one of the key pillars of Export Barbados, which is seeking to develop a 23-acre life science park at Newton, Christ Church. Export Barbados’ goal is to make Barbados the life science and biotech island of the Caribbean.