St. Kitts & Nevis to get EC$10.5 million from the European Commission for Economic Reform

St. Kitts & Nevis to get EC$10.5 million from the European Commission for Economic Reform

Thursday, March 31st, 2005 — St. Kitts & Nevis is to get EC$10.5 million from the European Union towards economic reform from its dependence on sugar.

St. Kitts & Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, His Excellency Mr. Amos Tincani signed the Agreement this morning (Thursday) for the allocation of EC$10.5 million or 3 million euros.

The money is a supplement to the country’s 9th European Development Fund (EDF) and will be “earmarked for Information Technology education in the context of economic reform away from sugar dependency.”

A Press Release from the Barbados-based European Union said that when added to the original allocation of EC$11 million (3.18 million euros), the EC$10.5 million supplement brings St. Kitts & Nevis’ total 9th EDF allocation to EC$21.6 million (6.18 million euros).

It said there is an additional EC$770,000 (220,000 euros) that has been set aside for emergency eventualities.

The Press Release stated that while St. Kitts & Nevis and the European Commission still have to discuss the uses of the additional funding, it has already been decided that the focal sector will be IT education in support of economic diversification.

“The original 9th EDF allocation has also been set aside for IT education, specifically IT-based training for post graduate to the community level. Under the scheme five postgraduate scholarships will be provided in addition to 10 undergraduate scholarship, as well as teacher training, short-term IT training courses along with community-based IT programmes,” said the release.

The European Union noted that assistance from the European Commission is coming at a time when St. Kitts & Nevis is preparing to diversify out of sugar and noted Prime Minister Douglas’ announcement that the twin-island Federation would end sugar production after this year’s harvest.

“Caribbean countries recently attended a EU sponsored workshop in Trinidad and Tobago which discussed the adjustment needs of the region in the context of the reform of the European Union’s sugar protocol. Based on the discussions the Commission is hoping to formalize its sugar action plan and envisages adopting national strategies so that EU assistance could begin to be delivered in 2006,” the Press Release said.

The European Commission to St. Kitts & Nevis said the total active portfolio of St. Kitts & Nevis including the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th EDF funds and the support from the regional programme was 20.7 million euros.