A twin-island state located off the Venezuelan coast, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is a high-income country with an economy driven by natural gas and petro-chemical exports and well-developed industrial and financial sectors. Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most developed nations in the Caribbean, and has the second highest per capita income in the region. However, social indicators lag behind economic growth and there are substantial pockets of poverty.
The main development challenge for T&T is to diversify its economy and to enter into a new path of economic growth and job creation outside the oil and gas sectors.
In line with the country context and as reflected in the national development agenda of T&T, the EU’s strategic objectives pursued in the current programming period (2014-2020) include:
- Promoting respect for human rights.
- Fighting climate change through environmental interventions with transparency of extractive industries, CO2 reduction in the transport sector, quarry rehabilitation and enhancing protect areas.
- Improving the democratic governance and domestic accountability of the country by strengthening civil society institutional capacity and supporting their participation in the national development process.
- EU funding under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to T&T to continue supporting the above efforts, through emphasis on innovation for diversification of the economy.
- Supporting climate change resilience and the implementation of T&T’s Nationally Determined Contribution.
Under the current programming period (2014-2020) tangible results include:
- Enhanced civil society organisations (CSO) actions and influence in national policy development particularly regarding the sectors of business and environment.
- Strengthened capacity of CSOs to participate in and contribute to policy dialogue and accountability processes at local and national level
The current programming period (2014-2020) allocates €9.7 million to increase the competitiveness and diversification of the country's economy in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. To this effect, it aims at strengthening the countries' innovation policy and respective institutional capacity.
Expected results may include:
- An energetic innovation network connecting grassroots innovators and national- level strategic thinkers.
- An inclusive, innovative small business-driven private sector that actively seeks to draw in women and vulnerable persons, especially those from socially challenged communities.
- Sustainable exports of niche and high value-added agricultural products catalysed by the effective use of indigenous and imported innovative technologies and the incorporation of women and vulnerable groups in particular.
- Improvements in energy efficiency.
- Eventually, an increase in export revenues arising from non-petroleum products.
As a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), Trinidad and Tobago benefits from regional programmes funded under the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes.
The country is also a signatory of the EU-Caribbean Partnership Agreement (EPA), a comprehensive free trade agreement with a strong focus on development cooperation.