Saint Lucia is the most densely populated of the four Windwards Islands and is considered a stable and democratic state, with a functioning parliamentary system and regular free elections. Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth realm; Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State, represented by a Governor-General.
Saint Lucia continues to pursue a path of more inclusive sustainable economic development with a view to reducing high unemployment, facilitating consistent positive economic growth and enhanced poverty alleviation. However, the economy remains highly vulnerable to natural and man-made shocks, with some significant structural challenges that impact on its economic outlook. Saint Lucia's economy has traditionally been agriculture-based, with the main exports being bananas, cocoa, vegetables, fruits and coconut oil. The country has attempted to diversify both its overall economy and agricultural production via import substitution on one side and concentrating banana production in the fair trade niche market on the other.
Job creation, through the development of an enabling business environment for the private sector and the strengthening of skills, is key in the strategy to fight poverty in Saint Lucia. For this reason, it is identified as a focal area in the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2014-2020.
The main objective of the EU’s development cooperation with Saint Lucia is to contribute to improvements in the growth of the economy, through the institutional and organisational strengthening of the country's public governance and regulatory framework. The promotion of green technologies will also be a central focus of the interventions to be designed for and employed by the beneficiary micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Programmes financed under the 11th EDF will also support the promotion of decent work and employment and by extension enhance social protection, uphold core labour standards and advance social dialogue through the continued involvement of non-governmental organisations and private sector associations.
Health sector strategy:
- the finalisation of a Health Sector Strategic Plan
- the establishment of a sustainable financing mechanism for the health sector
- the review and updating of relevant health legislation
Improving health sector infrastructure and quality:
- the design, build, equipping and commissioning of a modern secondary care hospital (€39 million), the Owen King EU Hospital
- upgrading of the primary care system to better function along with the improved secondary care available at the new hospital
- the establishment of a modern Health Management Information System (HMIS)
- enabling the development and implementation of a Quality Assurance System for all levels of the health sector
- strengthening of the epidemiology department to effectively analyse and utilise data from the HMIS
- providing extensive training of health personnel at all levels to support delivery of better health care
- the implementation of a holistic management programme for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs)
11th EDF – Main objectives of the 2014-2020 NIP (€6.9 million):
Contribute to overall economic growth and development of St. Lucia, through the improved competitiveness and productivity of the private sector, particularly the services sector. This will be done through improved provision of business support services through appropriate umbrella organisations; productivity and competitiveness of existing MSMEs in the services sector increased; and finally the overall policy and institutional environment for private sector development is improved.
Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) – €10.3 million; Interventions include:
- Agri-enterprise for youth, which involves the development of technological packages for selected commodities and training in product development for marketing
- Agri-enterprise facilitation
- Disaster risk reduction in the agricultural sector
- Research and technology facilitation which involves the construction and retrofitting of a National Diagnostic Facility