BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, March 24, 2017 (CMC) – The Barbados-based Caribbean Export and the European Union have signed an agreement, worth EURO 24 million, to support regional private sector development.
The funds are being made available under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Caribbean Export, Cecile Humphrey, said the agency is dedicated to expanding the EDF regional private sector development program, so as to ensure that more Caribbean firms can successfully export their products to an increasing number of countries.
Humphrey said the Caribbean Export was keen on ensuring that the level of achievement of the program, under the 11th EDF, would surpass the results of the previous one.
She praised the work of the Caribbean Export, saying: “its contribution to the gradual integration of CARIFORUM countries into the global economy and the enhancement of regional economic growth has been outstanding.”
She said that over the years, Caribbean Export’s extensive program had been designed primarily to deepen trade, investment and cooperation within the Caribbean and to enhance the competitiveness of regional Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Humphrey pointed out that access to finance had been a perennial challenge for SMEs in the Caribbean, and said she was pleased the Direct Assistance Grants Scheme had provided access to finance for Caribbean firms operating across several sectors.
According to her, about EUR 5.8 million had been awarded to SMEs during the 10th EDF.
Under the 11th EDF, focus will be placed on market penetration, supply chain and intelligence frameworks, increased access to finance, and the promotion of green energy and energy efficiency as key factors in lowering cost.