Barbados Looks to Science

Export Barbados in its efforts to boost exports, has embraced a Science, Innovation, and Design Strategy, which Chief Executive Officer Mark Hill says is intended to turn science into a multibillion-dollar sector for our economy.

“We have made the fundamental decision that we have to compete as a Small Island Developing State. So, we must build out the necessary infrastructure to compete on the scientific ground, on the innovation ground, and on the design ground. So, we call it SIDS for SIDS,” CEO Hill stated. 

Hill added that from an export perspective, given that our export basket is 20 years old, a scientific outlook is required to take Barbados’ export thrust to higher heights. The CEO also noted the following:

  1. Science has never really served Barbados in a big way.
  2. Barbados’ export basket is made up of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, rum, and paints.
  3. Though a biotech sector exists, there has been little innovation and new product creation.
  4. There is a need to build capacity for local scientific analysis. 
  5. Barbados has the human resources needed to pivot toward a strong life science focus, with about 1500 science students graduating annually from the UWI, Cave Hill Campus. 

The CEO was addressing the recently held International Trade Centre’s virtual Roundtable on the blue economy’s trade and investment opportunities for Small Island Developing States.