EU commits $11.5b to Jamaica
The European Union (EU) has committed more than 75 million Euros (J$11.5 billion) in development assistance to Jamaica for the next two to five years.
The agreement was signed last Friday at a ceremony held at the Office of the Prime Minister to celebrate Europe Day, which is recognised on May 9 each year.
The ceremony also marked the EU's 39th year of development assistance to Jamaica.
The sum represents funding being disbursed under six financing agreements, for which implementation will begin this year.
The programmes include the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol; the Justice Security Accountability & Transparency Project; additional funding for the Poverty Reduction Programme; the Public Financial Management Support Programme; further support to the Economic Partnership Agreement Capacity Building Project and Technical Co-operation Facility.
The projects will support the sugar sector, enhance security and justice, social projects, trade and strengthen the Government's technical capacity through the Planning Institute of Jamaica.
The funds will be disbursed over a period of 2-5 years, depending on the contract period for each financing agreement.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who delivered the keynote address, thanked the EU for its tremendous support over the years.
"Indeed Jamaica and Europe have had a long and very fruitful relationship. In nearly 40 years, Jamaica has received a total of approximately one billion Euros," said Simpson Miller as she noted that EU is Jamaica's largest source of grant funding.
According to Simpson Miller, the partnership between Jamaica and the EU is more than funding, as we share the same values and respect for human rights.
In the meantime, Ambassador Paola Amadei, head of the EU delegation, encouraged the Government to ensure that the assistance being provided by the European taxpayers is used to profit the Jamaican people.
DIFFICULT ECONOMIC RIGOUR
"During this difficult economic rigour, both in Jamaica and the EU, it becomes even more important to work hand in hand to make sure every Euro being provided by the European taxpayer is spent properly in Jamaica and produces the mutually envisaged results profiting the Jamaican people.
"When we look at them as part of an integrated approach to addressing the areas necessary for the country to attain and maintain growth, then we begin to see their complementary nature and real impact," said Amadei.