The island of Barbados is 431 sq. km. (166.4 sq. miles) and is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands. Trinidad & Tobago and the South American mainland lie to the south. Barbados is predominately flat with only a few gently rolling hills to the north. The capital is Bridgetown and the population is currently 279,000 with English as the official language. The literacy rate of 98% is one of the highest in the world. Barbados has consistently ranked among the top 75 countries in the world on the Human Development Index, ranking 37th in the world and third in the Americas behind Canada and the United States in the 2009 published report.
Barbados is also the 51st richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita, has a well developed mixed economy and a moderately high standard of living. According to the World Bank, Barbados is classified as being in its 66 top High Income Economies in the world.
The coral structure of the island acts as a natural filter and the water of Barbados is amongst the purest in the world.
Barbados’ market-based economy has diversified over the last four decades with emphasis moving from agriculture towards manufacturing, Tourism and offshore finance and information services. The principal exports of the island’s agricultural industry are sugar and rum. Tourism is the principal source of foreign exchange, economic activity and employment.
Barbados has matured into a world class business centre offering the professionalism and high level of management necessary to sustain its development.
Over the years, Barbados has shown steady economic growth under conditions of low inflation, stable currency, low external debt and solid social and economic infrastructure. Barbados is recognized as an important financial services centre worldwide with a growing tax treaty network and the country continues to attract investors who have found a cost-efficient and high quality service environment in which to conduct their business.
Political stability is one of the hallmarks of Barbados and its currency, the Barbados dollar (BD$, which trades at US $1.00 for BD$2.00), has never been devalued.