Jamaica is an upper/middle-income country located in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba, with a population of about 2.9 million people.
Rich in natural resources and politically stable, the country enjoys close commercial ties with the United States, Canada, and fellow member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It is also a member of the EU-Caribbean economic partnership agreement. Its economic situation continues to show signs of improvements, supported by reforms and consolidation measures. In 2018, Jamaica enjoyed a growing GDP, a decreasing unemployment rate, and lower food prices, with an annual inflation that fell to 2.8% in June 2018.
However, Jamaica is also faced with several development challenges: a high public debt, high levels of violence, a high poverty rate, and vulnerability to natural disasters, mainly hurricanes and tropical storms.
Jamaica is the largest democracy in the English-speaking Caribbean and the largest and most populated island in the region with 2.97 million people. The country is a key regional opinion former and partners with the US, Canada, and recently with the UK through region-to-country free trade arrangements. Jamaica has also opened relations with China, albeit their full potential remains unused. For the EU, Jamaica offers important economic and security-related opportunities.
The EU Delegation considers that the National Development Plan constitutes a strong basis for the 2021-2027 programming exercise and for the implementation of future cooperation. Furthermore, our priorities align due to the relevance for Jamaica of the green, digital, and growth goals of the European Commission.
The following three priority areas have been planned:
Sustainable and inclusive economy
This priority area combines the following three mutually reinforcing pillars: Broadband infrastructure and connectivity expansion through a significant investment in Jamaica’s information and communication technology infrastructure, with the provision of targeted digital resources and services for human capital development. Human capital development will be achieved inter alia through upskilling and reskilling the actors of the micro, small and medium enterprises and the integration of digital pedagogy. The integration of specialised digitalisation business development support services in the business ecosystem to enhance the growth of the MSME sector including the cultural and creative industries and the nascent technology sector to provide these services and others that promote digital entrepreneurship and internationalisation.
Climate change and environment
This priority area combines the following two mutually reinforcing pillars: Increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters through improving the governance framework for climate action, mobilizing climate financing, and increasing public awareness of the triple planetary crisis (climate, nature, and pollution) and promoting behaviour change, promoting data collection, analysis, and research and increasing the resilience of essential infrastructures. Enhance sustainable management of natural resources, by protecting the ecosystems, the ecosystem services analysis, and promoting the implementation of nature-based solutions.
Good governance and human security
We will continue to promote improved governance, human rights, and security in Jamaica, with a primary focus on preventive and protective measures, considering that crime is both the result of social and governance failures as well as a business, with its risks and rewards. In order to reduce violence, progress and sustainable results will require an engendered and holistic approach working on its cultural, social, environmental, and economic determinants. The EU will promote the strengthening of e-governance and the adoption of digital solutions to support data collection and sharing, transparency, and oversight for the security sector.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Jamaica for 2021-2024 amounts to €30 million.
Priority area 1: ‘Sustainable and inclusive economy’ plans to increase access to gender-responsive, accountable and effective digital skills and literacy products and services, especially for the vulnerable. It also supports the use of affordable and secure broadband infrastructure for end users, businesses and the government. Finally, it promotes the digital transformation of existing MSMEs and the growth of the technology sector.
Priority area 2: ‘Climate change and environment’ aims to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters affecting sustained economic and social development, and to enhance sustainable management of natural resources.
Priority area 3: ‘Good governance and human security’ envisions a safer Jamaican society, more inclusive and resilient, with emphasis on a rights-based approach. Furthermore, improves the protection of women, men, girls, and boys from all forms of gender-based violence.
The role of civil society is pivotal in the country's pursuit of development, thus wide stakeholder consultation will facilitate the development and implementation of a country’s roadmap to improve the impact, predictability, and coherence of EU support both in policy dialogue and operational support to Civil Society Organisations.
Consideration will be given to promoting women empowerment and gender equality, reducing the digital divide, and promoting digital skills and literacy.