Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an upper/middle-income country with a small open economy. It is the poorest country in the Eastern Caribbean and suffers from high unemployment, especially among women and young people. Its major economic pillars are tourism and agriculture, primarily banana production.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is characterised as a Small Islands Development State, which indicates that it is highly dependent on a limited number of economic sectors, vulnerable to exogenous shocks. Natural disasters, in particular, play a big role. Moreover, the islands in the Eastern Caribbean are generally defined by small administrations with limited capacities in addressing challenges and emerging events (e.g. natural hazards).
The main objective of the development cooperation with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is to enhance the quality of and to improve climate change resilience of the road network in particular rural roads, in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This will contribute to the stimulation of economic activities in rural communities and reduce vulnerability to climate change.
The country’s economy remains significantly agrarian in nature in spite of the growth of the service sectors and the declining contribution of the banana industry. The agricultural lands and human capability are among the major resources available to boost economic growth.
Agriculture is vital to achieve national food and nutrition security and hunger and poverty reduction, as enshrined in the first Millennium Development Goal. It is also critical in its potential for job creation. Revitalising the agricultural sector provides the opportunity to create linkages with tourism and other sectors (e.g. health), thereby maximising economic growth potential.
Under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), Saint Vincent and Grenadines has been allocated an initiatl €7 million for the current programming period (2014-2020) to support the restructuring and rehabilitation of the rural roads in the country. The main objectives are:
- Revising road and traffic legislations.
- Establishing a road database/inventory and reviewing the classification system, including criteria of vulnerability to climate change.
- Upgrading GIS-based mapping of the road system.
- Revising current road strategy plan, including environment safeguards and climate proofing measures.
- Defining potential by-pass roads for reducing vulnerability to disasters.
- Strengthening institutional capacity building, including on environmental safeguards and climate proofing.
As a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific ACP States (CARIFORUM), Saint Vincent and Grenadines benefits from regional programmes funded under the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes.
Saint Vincent and Grenadines is also a signatory of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a comprehensive free trade agreement with a strong focus on development cooperation.