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Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce. (FP)

Improvements in the infrastructure of priority sectors such as transport, information and communication technologies and social services are on the horizon, with the launch of the Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF) this morning, at the Accra Beach Resort, Hastings.

The CIF, a 40 million euro facility, which was signed in 2012 between the European Union (EU) and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, represents the ongoing collaboration between the two regions, a relationship which Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, supports and appreciates.??

Speaking at this morning’s launch, Senator Boyce stated that: "For us in the Caribbean, mainly Small Island Developing States, susceptible to external shocks due to natural or man-made disasters and with economies intricately linked to the overall performance of other economies within the global system, this initiative is timely.

"It allows for countries within the region to stimulate sustainable economic growth by attracting more foreign direct investment and by improvements in trade related activities that are made available through the provision of an efficient transport and communication system," he said.

Senator Boyce highlighted the range of EU programmes from which this island stands to benefit, namely an EU grant of almost 6 million euros for a public sector Smart Energy Fund to be signed by the middle of this year. He noted: "Other initiatives provided under the European Development Fund through the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme, include the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (28.3 million euros), the Economic Partnership Agreement Programme (46.5 million euros) and the Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (1.5 million euros)."

Barbados has also received support from the EU through its National Indicative Programme which, Senator Boyce explained, resulted in the "construction of the Barbados Hospitality Institute which provides training to our young people entering the hospitality sector and the establishment of the Barbados Language Centre, which provides individuals with linguistic competence required to meet the needs of a competitive export-oriented economy."

Younger students will also gain from EU funded endeavours, the Minister remarked, with school kits to be provided for those pursuing the Common Entrance Examination this May; while BDS$250,000 will be contributed to the Barbados Non-State Actors Small Grants Programme.

CIF contributions will support investments located in the 15 Caribbean countries signatory to the Co ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, which include Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Haiti and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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