Antigua and Barbuda has been one of the Caribbean's most prosperous countries, largely due to the tourism industry and its offshore financial services.
However, the country’s tourism-dependent economy has been severely impacted by the global economic and financial crisis. Declining tourism and a reduction in foreign direct investment related construction activities triggered the worst recession in decades.
Antigua and Barbuda is a Small Islands Development State (SIDS), indicating that it is highly dependent on a limited number of economic sectors, vulnerable to foreign economic disruption, and is particularly affected by natural disasters. The country is also limited in its administrative capacity to address challenges and emerging events such as natural hazards. The infrastructure of the island of Barbuda was severely affected by hurricane Irma in 2017 and the entire population had to be temporarily evacuated.
Our development cooperation with Antigua and Barbuda aims to contribute to improvements in the overall governance of the public sector through the strengthening of the country's public financial management systems. As partners, we aim to ease the adoption and implementation of international public-sector standards, systems and controls, particularly regarding fiscal policy.
Our work with the country is framed by the National Indicative Programme under the current 11th European Development Fund (EDF) running between 2014-2020. We also collaborate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for development support in the country, as well as being an active participant in the regional public financial management donor group.
In 2015, Antigua and Barbuda approved a new medium-term development strategy (MTDS) with the following pillars:
- optimal generation of national wealth
- enhanced social cohesion
- improved health of the natural environment and sustained cultural assets
- enhanced citizen security
The regional private sector development programme is currently underway in Antigua and Barbuda. The programme aims to build private sector capacity to increase export competitiveness as well as to strengthen regional mechanisms that promote effective public-private and private-private discussions.
As part of the Eastern Caribbean sub-region, Antigua and Barbuda benefits from our support under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the Civil Society Organisations programmes. Projects implemented in Antigua and Barbuda under these programmes aim to:
- increase employment opportunities for at risk and incarcerated youth, reducing relapses among them through vocational training, job placements, diversion and re-entry programmes
- oppose marginalisation, discrimination and exclusion of persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex citizens, youth and the elderly in national and regional decision-making processes
- enhance capacities of local actors and build a strong civil society movement for the abolition of the death penalty
Antigua and Barbuda also benefits from regional outreach and best practices developed by projects implemented in neighbouring countries, especially concerning domestic violence.