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Barbados

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Background:
The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.



Location:
Caribbean, island in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates:
13 10 N, 59 32 W

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Area:
total: 430 sq km
country comparison to the world: 200
land: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
97 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate:
Current Weather
tropical; rainy season (June to October)

Terrain:
relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m

Natural resources:
petroleum, fish, natural gas

Land use:
arable land: 37.21%
permanent crops: 2.33%
other: 60.46% (2005)

Irrigated land:
50 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
0.1 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.09 cu km/yr (33%/44%/22%)
per capita: 333 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides

Environment - current issues:
pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:
easternmost Caribbean island



Population:
285,653 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180

Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.1% (male 27,252/female 27,243)
15-64 years: 71.3% (male 100,233/female 103,416)
65 years and over: 9.6% (male 10,708/female 16,801) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 36.2 years
male: 35.1 years
female: 37.2 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.374% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165

Birth rate:
12.43 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160

Death rate:
8.39 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94

Net migration rate:
-0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101

Urbanization:
urban population: 40% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.012 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 12.09 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 138
male: 13.42 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.14 years
country comparison to the world: 100
male: 71.88 years
female: 76.42 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.68 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.2% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 100 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152

Nationality:
noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)
adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)

Ethnic groups:
black 93%, white 3.2%, mixed 2.6%, East Indian 1%, other 0.2% (2000 census)

Religions:
Protestant 63.4% (Anglican 28.3%, Pentecostal 18.7%, Methodist 5.1%, other 11.3%), Roman Catholic 4.2%, other Christian 7%, other 4.8%, none or unspecified 20.6% (2008 est.)

Languages:
English

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 99.7%
male: 99.7%
female: 99.7% (2002 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2001)

Education expenditures:
6.9% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 24



Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Barbados

Government type:
parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Capital:
name: Bridgetown
geographic coordinates: 13 06 N, 59 37 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
11 parishes and 1 city*; Bridgetown*, Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas

Independence:
30 November 1966 (from the UK)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 30 November (1966)

Constitution:
30 November 1966

Legal system:
English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Clifford Straughn HUSBANDS (since 1 June 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister David THOMPSON (since 16 January 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21 seats; members appointed by the governor general - 12 on the advice of the Prime Minister, 2 on the advice of the opposition leader, and 7 at his discretion) and the House of Assembly (30 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held on 15 January 2008 (next to be called in 2013)
election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - DLP 52.5%, BLP 47.3%; seats by party - DLP 20, BLP 10

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Judicature consists of a High Court and a Court of Appeal (judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services); Caribbean Court of Justice or CCJ is the highest court of appeal; based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Political parties and leaders:
Barbados Labor Party or BLP [Mia MOTTLEY]; Democratic Labor Party or DLP [David THOMPSON]; People's Empowerment Party or PEP [David COMISSIONG]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Barbados Secondary Teachers' Union or BSTU [Patrick FROST]; Barbados Union of Teachers or BUT [Herbert GITTENS]; Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados or CTUSAB, (includes the BWU, NUPW, BUT, and BSTU) [Leroy TROTMAN]; Barbados Workers Union or BWU [Leroy TROTMAN]; Clement Payne Labor Union [David COMISSIONG]; National Union of Public Workers [Joseph GODDARD]

International organization participation:
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John BEALE
chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200
FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
consulate(s): Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires D. Brent HARDT
embassy: U.S. Embassy, Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael BB 14006
mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown BB 11000; CMR 1014, APO AA 34055
telephone: [1] (246) 227-4399
FAX: [1] (246) 431-0179

Flag description:
three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold, and blue with the head of a black trident centered on the gold band; the band colors represent the blue of the sea and sky and the gold of the beaches; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident)



Economy - overview:
Historically, the Barbadian economy was dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities. However, in recent years the economy has diversified into light industry and tourism with about three-quarters of GDP and 80% of exports being attributed to services. Growth has rebounded since 2003, bolstered by increases in construction projects and tourism revenues, reflecting its success in the higher-end segment, but the sector faced declining revenues in 2009 with the global economic downturn. The country enjoys one of the highest per capita incomes in the region. Offshore finance and information services are important foreign exchange earners and thrive from having the same time zone as eastern US financial centers and a relatively highly educated workforce. The government continues its efforts to reduce unemployment, to encourage direct foreign investment, and to privatize remaining state-owned enterprises. The public debt-to-GDP ratio rose to over 100% in 2009, largely because a sharp slowdown in tourism and financial services led to a wide budget deficit.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$5.278 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
$5.43 billion (2008 est.)
$5.392 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$3.637 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-2.8% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
0.7% (2008 est.)
3.3% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$18,500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
$19,200 (2008 est.)
$19,100 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 16%
services: 78% (2000 est.)

Labor force:
175,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 10%
industry: 15%
services: 75% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate:
10.7% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Budget:
revenues: $847 million (including grants)
expenditures: $886 million (2000 est.)

Public debt:
NA (2009)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.5% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149

Central bank discount rate:
10% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 23
12% (31 December 2007)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10.03% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 80
10.8% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$1.637 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 97
$1.454 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$3.701 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 92
$3.835 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$4.554 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 88
$3.533 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 80
$4.964 billion (31 December 2008)
$5.599 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, vegetables, cotton

Industries:
tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export

Industrial production growth rate:
-3.2% (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100

Electricity - production:
1.003 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146

Electricity - consumption:
939.9 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
765 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107

Oil - consumption:
9,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152

Oil - exports:
1,750 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118

Oil - imports:
10,390 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139

Oil - proved reserves:
2.17 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94

Natural gas - production:
29.17 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87

Natural gas - consumption:
29.17 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74

Natural gas - proved reserves:
141.6 million cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101

Current account balance:
-$254 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95

Exports:
$385 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 171

Exports - commodities:
manufactures, sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components

Exports - partners:
Trinidad and Tobago 17.48%, Jamaica 15.63%, US 8.93%, Saint Lucia 8.13%, UK 5.36%, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 5.04%, Antigua and Barbuda 4.12% (2009)

Imports:
$1.586 billion (2006)
country comparison to the world: 159

Imports - commodities:
consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components

Imports - partners:
Trinidad and Tobago 28.52%, US 27.96%, Colombia 7.13%, China 4.76%, UK 4.39% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$620 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 138

Debt - external:
$668 million (2003)
country comparison to the world: 153

Exchange rates:
Barbadian dollars (BBD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 2 (2006), 2 (2005), 2 (2004), 2 (2003)



Telephones - main lines in use:
150,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 132

Telephones - mobile cellular:
406,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 160

Telephone system:
general assessment: island-wide automatic telephone system
domestic: fixed-line teledensity of roughly 50 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density approaching 150 per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-246; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad; satellite earth stations - 1 (Intelsat -Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia (2008)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 13, shortwave 0 (2009)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus 2 cable channels) (2004)

Internet country code:
.bb

Internet hosts:
235 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 185

Internet users:
188,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 139



Airports:
1 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 231

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2009)

Roadways:
total: 1,600 km
country comparison to the world: 176
paved: 1,600 km (2004)

Merchant marine:
total: 85
country comparison to the world: 53
by type: bulk carrier 15, cargo 50, chemical tanker 7, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 6, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 80 (Canada 9, Greece 12, India 1, Iran 2, Lebanon 1, Norway 38, Sweden 7, Syria 1, UK 9)
registered in other countries: 1 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Bridgetown



Military branches:
Royal Barbados Defense Force: Troops Command, Barbados Coast Guard (2009)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (younger requires parental consent); no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 74,418
females age 16-49: 74,450 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 58,532
females age 16-49: 58,542 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 1,897
female: 1,884 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.8% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 151

Military - note:
the Royal Barbados Defense Force includes a land-based Troop Command and a small Coast Guard; the primary role of the land element is to defend the island against external aggression; the Command consists of a single, part-time battalion with a small regular cadre that is deployed throughout the island; it increasingly supports the police in patrolling the coastline to prevent smuggling and other illicit activities (2007)



Disputes - international:
Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago abide by the April 2006 Permanent Court of Arbitration decision delimiting a maritime boundary and limiting catches of flying fish in Trinidad and Tobago's exclusive economic zone; joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea

Illicit drugs:
one of many Caribbean transshipment points for narcotics bound for Europe and the US; offshore financial center

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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