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The Barbados Advocate
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BARBADOS - Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Marion Williams

Web Posted - Mon Apr 10 2006 Compliments of the Barbados Advocate

BARBADOS needs to take fresh guard and look for new economic opportunities to further diversify its economy. This is according to Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Marion Williams as she addressed a group of businessmen and other officials, at a farewell function for Chris De Caires who has stepped down as head of the Barbados Private Sector Association.
Dr.Williams reiterated that Barbados should cease putting all of its eggs in the tourism basket and suggested that the country look to other niches to develop the economy. In tourism there will come a point where the number of hotel rooms and tourist accommodation that can be put on Barbadian shores without placing a severe burden on the environment, will be reached, she told the function. Saying that this has been revealed from studies undertaken, Dr. Williams said: We cannot put all our emphasis on this sector indefinitely. The nation has more than adequate size and adequate skill and capability to fund and excel in new niches and to develop existing ones.

In recent weeks, Government has been highlighting $1.2 billion in investments in tourism- related projects. Tourism has been the lead economic sector in Barbados, accounting for most of the growth, the bulk of econo mic activity and a catalyst for activities in other sectors, especially construction and wholesale and retail. Later this month, the Central Bank Governor is expected to review the economy for the first quarter of 2006 and that will most likely show grow th being fuelled by tourism and construction.

Dr. Williams said that one aspect of the microeconomic business environment in Barbados is the climate and the set of incentives that stimulate aggressive investment. To reach an advanced- economy stat us, there must be a climate in which companies are willing to invest in other assets and intangibles, such as training, research and development technology (commonly referred to R&D), branding, and international marketing networks, she suggested.

She informed the function that huge businesses have developed from simple things  like water  and other items which we would not normally expect to have a market. However, since the world stage and the web can be easily accessed, the possibilities have i ncreased tremendously, the Governor reasoned.

Greater capacity to make soft investments in R&D and training is essential. Barbadian companies are most likely to compete as specialists  in niches much like the Swiss. We are unlikely to be mass-mar ket players, even in service areas,she maintained.



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