|The Courier N° 123 Sept - October 1990 - Dossier Higher Education - Country Reports: Barbados - (EC Courier, 1990, 104 p.)|
|Barbados: Basking in the economic sunshine|
Barbados has always been one of the most active members of the ACP Group of States, and has played a key role during the negotiations leading up to the signature of the successive Lomonventions.
Given the countrys relatively small population of some 250 000 people, and the relatively high GDP per capita (US $ 5 635 in 1989) the total of Lom, II and III indicative programmes of ECU 11.36m is considerable. In addition, the European Investment Bank has pursued an active investment programme in Barbados, with approved EIB loans totalling ECU 21.2m since Lom. Furthermore, Barbados has derived substantial benefits from the Caribbean Regional Programme (totalling ECU 160 m under Lom, II and III) both through CARICOM and other regional institutions in the fields of trade, tourism, human resources, agriculture and transport. Barbados also continues to benefit from the Sugar Protocol (quota allocation of 50 312 tonnes) and the Rum Protocol.
At the end of 1989, financing decisions had been taken for 62% of the total financial allocation under Lom, II and III.
The chart on the right shows the sectoral allocation of EDF funds since Lom. The bulk of EDF resources has been devoted to agriculture and fisheries, with significant amounts also going to trade development, tourism, training, and health.
Agriculture and fisheries
Without doubt one of the most successful projects has been the Oistins Fisheries Project financed under Lom with a total EDF contribution of ECU 950 000. The project, officially opened in 1983, enabled the construction of a fishing terminal at the historic town of Oistins, on the south-west coast. Building on the traditional fishing industry the project assists fishermen and vendors by providing a small fishing harbour, including jetty, slipway, maintenance yard and fuel facilities, and simple modular stalls, with annexed vegetable stalls, directly accessible to the buying public. Since the commissioning of the new Oistins complex the annual tonnage of fish landed has doubled.
Sugar still dominates agriculture in Barbados, and remains a valuable source of employment as well as foreign exchange. However, efforts are also underway to encourage diversification, and these have received EDF support.
In the hills of the Scotland District in north-eastern Barbados a major land conservation and agricultural development project was launched in 1982, with an approved LomI Indicative Programme allocation of ECU I 225 000. Extensive conservation work, including terracing, contouring, dam and weir construction and tree planting was carried out to conserve both soil and water in this rugged and relatively undeveloped part of Barbados. Agricultural activities include fruit tree development, tree planting, livestock and irrigation projects. Feeder roads have opened up major parts of the district to local farmers, with the aim of encouraging increased agricultural production and improved marketing. Though slow in implementation this project achieved satisfactory results.
Lom-III Indicative Programmes: Sectoral allocations
The National Fruit Orchard Project (ECU 550 000) was also financed from the LomI Indicative Programme. Demonstration plots were established at Codrington Agricultural Station for mangoes, grapefruit, avocados and pawpaws. The project aimed to establish or rehabilitate up to 50 hectares of fruit orchard on selected farms. Assistance to farmers is provided in the form of short and medium term credit, administered through the Barbados National Bank.
As a small country, Barbados is highly dependent on external trade. Since Lom the EDF has provided considerable support for export development, mainly through the Barbados Export Promotion Corporation (BEPC). Under Lom and II a total of ECU 439 000 was provided in three separate activities aimed at expanding and improving export promotion programmes, as well as improving the overall structure of the BEPC. Particular emphasis was placed on technical assistance to the garment industry.
Under LomII a total of ECU 1 845000 is being provided for export promotion. A significant part of these funds is being devoted to a project to assist with the marketing of Barbados rum in Europe. Barbados rum has been identified as a product with considerable potential, and the initial results of the marketing assistance are promising. Also, the improvements in the access for rum under LomV should help to ensure that Barbados rum exports reach their full potential. Assistance is also being given in the area of design. A design centre is being set up, initially within the BEPC. The aims are to increase awareness of the importance of design of goods, and of packaging, to train young designers, and to provide a much needed service to the manufacturing sector.
The potential of the manufacturing sector, which employs 12 000 people, is being assessed and recommendations are being made for the future development of the sector in a study which got underway at the beginning of 1990. The study is being undertaken by the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP).
Tourism is the most important sector in the Barbados economy. Receipts from the 500 000 annual visitors provide the main source of foreign exchange and contribute to the relatively high standard of living. The EDF has previously given support to the Board of Tourism in its marketing efforts, and has each year helped to finance participation in the major tourism fairs around the world. Currently a project for the construction of a badly needed new hotel training school is being appraised for possible finance from LomII resources.
The EDF has financed multiannual training programmes under Lom, II and III. The development of human resources is critical to the development of Barbados. Although training facilities are well developed, including the Community College and the University of the West Indies, specialised training may require a period of study abroad. Once the LomII programme of scholarships is implemented, over 70 students will have received EDF awards.
In the health sector the European Community financed under Lom, the Speightstown Health Centre (now renamed the Maurice Byer Polyclinic). Completed in 1978 at a cost of ECU 370 000, the Centre contains a small clinic (8 beds), a laboratory, a dispensary and facilities for public health personnel. The project provides both preventive and curative health care and dental facilities for the population of the northern part of Barbados, thus reducing pressure at the referral hospital in Bridgetown.
Besides the projects summarised above, Barbados has benefited from EEC financial allocations outside the Indicative Programmes. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has lent over ECU 21 m to Barbados since Lom. Loans have been provided to the Barbados Development Bank for a total of ECU 10.5 m. These funds have been used for on-lending to small and medium-sized companies in the industrial and tourism sectors. The Barbados Light and Power Company received a loan of ECU 5 m under Lom for the expansion of electricity generating and distribution facilities. In addition the Barbados Port Authority received a loan of ECU 5.6 m for the improvement and expansion of the Authoritys container handling and transshipping capabilities.
EEC-Barbados cooperation-breakdown of allocations by sector and in ECU
Barbados is an active member of CARICOM and benefits to a great degree from the EECs regional programmes for the Caribbean. Because of its central position and the excellent communication links, a number of regional organisations are based in Barbados. Under Lom and II important projects were implemented by the Caribbean Food Corporation (CFC), the Caribbean Agricultural Trading Company (CATCO), and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO). In the areas of transport, LlAT, the regional air carrier, and WISCO, the West Indies Shipping Organisation, also benefitted.
Some of the more recent regional projects include:
CARICOM regional trade development programme
CARICOM has set up an office in Bridgetown, with assistance from the Government of Barbados, to coordinate trade development activities in the region. The EDF is supporting a three-year programme designed to encourage free trade, promote the use of regional goods, particularly through improved standards, and encourage extra-regional trade.
Caribbean Examinations Council
The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is being helped by a grant of ECU 750 000 to upgrade its data processing capability.
University of the West Indies
Two major projects funded under LomII are currently underway at the Cave Hill, Barbados campus, as well as at the campuses in Trinidad and Jamaica. The first is a programme of support for infrastructure and equipment (ECU 6.2 m). The Cave Hill component comprises the expansion of the Learning Resource Centre and the establishment of a Central Analytical Laboratory. The second comprises the construction of student accommodation (ECU 16 m). Accommodation for 180 students will be provided at the Cave Hill campus.
Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI)
CARDI has received support under Lom, II and III totalling over ECU 11 m. The current LomII project included the expansion of CARDIs existing tissue culture laboratory facilities in Barbados. The main focus of the project will be the propagation of high-yielding yam planting material for use by farmers in Barbados and the OECS.
Delegation of the European Communities, in Bridgetown, Barbados