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  • 2023: A Look Back (Part One)

2023: A Look Back (Part One)

This article, the first in a four-part series, looks back at some of the Central Bank of Barbados’ activities and initiatives in 2023. Read part two, three, and four here.

Positive Signs for Barbados’ Economy

In January, the Bank published its review of Barbados’ economic performance in 2022. The review revealed that following a sharp decline in 2020 and limited growth in 2021, the economy had rebounded to achieve 10 percent growth. That was due primarily to the recovery of tourism, which saw Barbados welcoming 442,576 visitors, as compared to 144,833, and had resulted in the unemployment rate falling to 7.1 percent.

The report also showed improvement in other areas of the economy: the debt-to-GDP ratio fell by more than 14 percentage points and both the fiscal and primary balances had improved during the first nine months of the fiscal year (April to December). The inflation rate, however, remained high, with prices having risen by an average of 8.5 percent over the 12 months ending November 2022.

In his final remarks during the press conference, Governor Haynes announced that he would demit office on January 31 of the year, saying, “I trust that during my term as Governor, that I’ve been able to provide the leadership which the public expects of this institution.”

A New Governor

On February 4, the Bank announced that economist Dr. Kevin Greenidge had been appointed as its eighth Governor.

At the time of his appointment, Dr. Greenidge was a Senior Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, from 2018 until 2022, he had taken a leave of absence to act as Senior Economic Advisor to the Government of Barbados, where he was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme. 

Prior to working at the IMF, he had been a long-time employee of the Bank’s, where over a 17-year period, he rose through the ranks to become Director of its Research and Economic Analysis Department from 2009 until 2011.

Governor Greenidge took office on March 1.


A Discussion on the Multiple Crises Impacting the Region

In March, newly appointed Governor, Dr. Kevin Greenidge, joined Gervase Warner, Chairman of the CARICOM Private Sector Organisation and Geneva Oliverie, Development Specialist with the Caribbean Policy Development Centre as a panellist on the first edition of the Bank’s 2023 Caribbean Economic Forum, “Managing Caribbean Economies in an Era of Many Crises.” 

During the 90-minute discussion, the three experts explained how the multiple simultaneous crises, including inflation, high debt levels, and the Ukraine-Russia war are affecting the region, and offered suggestions about what our nations can do to mitigate their impact.

The Bank later hosted three additional forums during the year that focused on non-communicable diseases, food security, and the transition to green energy.

Managing Caribbean Economies in an Era of Many Crises

Other Activities

The Bank continued its long history of supporting the arts by sponsoring the 25th Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Competition, which Peter Laurie won. It also partnered with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to produce the 9th Fish and Dragon Festival, a cultural extravaganza held in celebration of diplomatic ties between Barbados and the People’s Republic of China. For the third year in a row, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival, which coincides with the Chinese New Year, was staged as a virtual event.