The European Union and CARIFORUM have agreed to top-up by 3.68 million euros (US$4.4M) the EU-funded Regional Private Sector Development Programme implemented by the Caribbean Export Development Agency. This brings the overall EU support granted to the programme to 27.68 million euros (US33M).

The European Union and CARIFORUM upgraded the programme given the unprecedented situation the Caribbean region faced this year as a result of the COVID pandemic. Similarly, the duration of the programme was extended by one year, to end in 2022 (2017-2022).

“With these additional funds for the Caribbean Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs), the European Union wants to reaffirm its commitment to stand by the countries of CARIFORUM and the Region in this critical time and the times ahead“ declared Malgorzata WASILEWSKA, Ambassador of the European Union to Barbados, the OECS states, the OECS and CARIFORUM/CARICOM.

The additional funds should be directed to the Direct Assistance Grant (DAGs) scheme, to further assist Caribbean Small and Medium Size Enterprises with mitigating the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on their activities. The Direct Assistance Grant scheme provides specific non-reimbursable support to companies to strengthen their export capacity and competitiveness. In place for around 20 years now, the Direct Assistance Grant scheme channelled over 12 million euros (US$14.3M) to the benefit of over 600 firms across the region.

Background
For more than 20 years now, the European Union (EU) has partnered with the Caribbean region to support the development of the Caribbean Regional Private Sector. This has been done mainly through the Regional Private Sector Development Programme, with the Caribbean Export Development Agency as the main implementing partner. The major objective has been and remains to fight poverty by contributing to the economic growth and job creation in the Caribbean Region.

To be kept informed of the EU funded activities implemented by the Caribbean Export Development Agency and about when the next call for proposals under the DAGs will be organised, companies should subscribe to the Agency newsletter on the Agency website.