Barbados Considered as the Most Competitive Country in the Caribbean

Melissa Beale (COHA) writes that Barbados is ahead of many Caribbean countries in terms of its quality of life. She quotes the United Nations’ annual Human Development Report (HDR) and its HDI data on health, education, and income to show how Barbados, a tourist destination with a population of approximately 280,000, has an HDI of 0.793. This translates to a rank of 47 out of 187 countries, leading all of the other English-speaking islands in its qualitative ranking in 2011. She underlines the country’s strides in gender equality. See excerpts with a link to the full article below:

With respect to the Caribbean and Latin American region, Barbados, which was deemed the only “developed” country in the 2010 HDR and labeled by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s 2011 economic report as “the most competitive country in the Caribbean”, is above average for the region (0.731) and merits being placed in the ‘Very High Human Development’ category. Barbados is ranked third throughout the Americas and Caribbean for its HDI and first in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. Accordingly, in the Global Competitiveness Report, out of 142 countries, Barbados comes second in Latin America and the Caribbean, compared to twenty-seventh worldwide for its overall global competitiveness.

[. . .] Important lessons can be learned from the HDR and the respective reports that encourage other countries to seek to emulate its progress. In the case of Barbados, for example, gender equality has improved; 89.5 percent of women have achieved a secondary level education or higher, compared to 87.6 percent of men. Now, women typically stay in school for fourteen years and men attend for thirteen years.

With the increase presence of females in the education system, the effects translate to the economic sector where women hold 50.7 percent of jobs in the non-agricultural sector. Also, since 1980, the mean number of years of schooling in Barbados increased by three years, with a GNI (Gross National Income) per capita increase of 26.0 percent. Barbados shines in comparison to its CARICOM neighbors, where the closest comparable island nation, Antigua and Barbuda, is ranked 60, while others are ranked as low as 82 (St. Lucia). With its exceptional human development in areas such as pro-gender equality in the education and the non-agricultural sectors, Barbados appears to deserve its UN rank as a developed country and the lead in its region.

For full report, see

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