Bridgetown, Barbados — The steering committees of the CARICOM Single Market Economy (CSME) and CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) standby facilities will consider a combined eight project proposals for funding when they meet at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) headquarters this week. The EPA steering committee will consider four proposals totaling EUR546,575 and the CSME steering committee will consider four proposals totaling EUR644,090.
These standby facilities were set up by the European Union (EU) and are being funded through the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) with EUR3.45 million for the CSME Facility and EUR3.5 million for the EPA Facility. The facilities, which are being administered by the CDB, are aimed at assisting Caribbean countries with furthering the implementation of the CSME and EPA at the national level.
“Deepening integration among Caribbean countries and the integration of the region into the global economy is critical to accelerating the pace of economic growth in the Caribbean. As such, the EU, through the 10th EDF, is partnering with Caribbean countries to address competitiveness at the enterprise level along with the reforms needed to the legislative, regulatory and institutional framework which influence the cost of doing business in the region, and the ease with which Caribbean countries can engage in economic activity with each other and with the rest of world,” said head of the EU delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Mikael Barfod.
Vice president of operations at CDB, Nigel Romano, explained that “the requests for funding are sent to CDB and the bank assists states to elaborate these requests into sound project proposals. These proposals are then reviewed and approved by the respective steering committee.”
“The CSME and EPA are key agreements and tools for promoting trade among Caribbean countries and between the Caribbean and the EU and, by extension, supporting the achievement of the region’s development goals. The standby facilities will directly contribute to building capacities, at the national level, to implement the CSME to its fullest extent and to position Caribbean countries, particularly the private sector, to take advantage of the opportunities created by the EPA. The objectives of these facilities are very much aligned to the bank’s mandate and ongoing programme to support the regional integration process and its strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development in the bank’s member countries,” said Valarie Pilgrim, operations officer at CDB.
The steering committees comprise representatives of European Commission, CARICOM Secretariat and senior public servants. The committees will be meeting frequently over the next few months to approve additional projects and oversee the administration of the facilities