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International Partnerships


Barbados is a relatively stable Small Island Developing State. It is a high-income country with the private sector being the main economic engine and tourism playing an important role. Around 80% of the GDP is generated from services in trade, transport, government, and business, and other services such as banking; tourism accounts for around 12% of the GDP.

Barbados’ economy has shown slow growth over recent years. The country embraces the concept of a green economy with social and environmental issues being tackled in a way that ensures sustainable development, and with the public and private sector both playing a part in this process. Recently Barbados has been defined as becoming “the most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean”, and the government is setting significant national sustainable development goals and targets, for example on energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, waste reduction, waste recovery, and reduction of unaccounted-for water.

A challenge remains that just as other Eastern Caribbean countries, Barbados has a small administration with limited capacities in addressing natural hazards and other emerging threats.


    Our priorities

    The EU is the 3rd largest trading partner of Barbados. In 2016, the EU was its 3rd biggest destination for exports at 7.9% of total exports and the 3 rd main origin of imports at 14.8% of total imports.

    The main objective of EU development cooperation with Barbados is to support the government in its efforts to increase competitiveness, promote sustainable growth and poverty alleviation.

    For the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), the only sector of intervention is renewable energy (€3 million), where the focus is on supporting the government of Barbados in diversifying its energy production and reducing its dependency on fossil fuels. The Financing Agreement was signed by both parties in June 2017.

    Furthermore, complementary support measures are in place for technical assistance and for the office of the National Authorising Officer.

    Our impact

    • Under the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP), the Caribbean Export Development Agency launched the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) in Barbados in March 2018. After the launch, CEDA conducted a sensitisation and training exercise for in-country advisors and partner business support organisations on the DAGs.
    • Another initiative under the 11th EDF RPSDP that was launched in Barbados is the Women Empowered through Business (WE-Xport) initiative, in March 2018. We-Xport aims to support Caribbean women to grow their businesses by assisting in them either to start exporting or increase their exports. WE-Xport seeks to increase access to finance by female entrepreneurs through the provision of workshops and technical assistance. The programme also has an intensive business coaching programme to build the participants capacity and increase their access to export markets and networks.
    • An ongoing regional project that also targets Barbados is the Drug Demand Reduction Programme with the CARICOM Secretariat (worth approx. €2 million in total) that establishes drug treatment courts and aims at tackling resilience factors for youth against drug use. More specifically, the existing drug treatment court in Barbados will be strengthened and so-called Champions for Change Clubs will be established in the country, which will provide after-school activities for at-risk youth.
    • Another regional project on crime and violence prevention that is implemented by the CARICOM Secretariat (worth approx. €2.3 million in total) targets Barbados with some of its activities, such as reduction of intra-family violence through campaigns that actively involve men to address the roots of gender based violence.
    • As a member country of the Regional Security System (RSS), the country's law enforcement and border security staff also benefit from the EU-financed trainings of the RSS to standardise training across the RSS member countries, to produce the best possible law enforcement officers and to enable the organisation's successes in counterdrug operations. These trainings are mainly conducted at the organisation's headquarters in Barbados and are worth approx. €1.1 million).

    Our programmes

    Barbados is signatory of the Cotonou agreement and the European Partnership Agreement (EPA). A National Indicative Programme of €3.5 million for the 11th EDF was signed in 2014, with renewable energy as the focal sector.

    Barbados also benefitted from the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP), where a combined €42.3 million was allocated from 2010-16.

    The 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP), worth €24 million, was signed in December 2016 and launched in Barbados in March 2017. Under the 11th EDF, Barbados benefits from a €3.5 million allocation which focuses on the energy sector and, more specifically, on renewable energy and energy efficiency.