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Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eastern Caribbean island nation, famed for its beautiful landscapes, pristine white-sand beaches and temperate climate, attracted millions of tourists each year. But with travel restrictions across the globe, tourism all but dried up, and the country’s economy has seen a dramatic downturn. It is estimated that by the end of 2020, GDP had contracted by 18%, primarily due to the 71% decline in long-stay arrivals over the year.

In these times of instability, the Barbadian government is accelerating its efforts to diversify the economy and rebuild a more sustainable and resilient one. Apart from renewed activity in traditional sectors, the country aims to tap into the new value chains of the emerging global green and blue economy. Barbados not only has ambitious plans to become the first carbon-free small island developing state by 2030, but also intends to become an export leader of cleantech products and services to the Caribbean and beyond

Cleantech for more resilience

In this context, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is supporting the Government of Barbados with the establishment of BLOOM, the Caribbean’s first cleantech cluster. Created as public-private partnership, the cluster provides shared resources and services, as well as a makerspace for companies and academia to work on joint projects, solutions and marketing. The cluster is hosted by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), under the supervision of the Ministry of International Business and Industry.

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