Jamaica has benefited from 1.5 billion Euros in development assistance from the European Union (EU) over the past 43 years.
These funds, which are primarily grant resources, have spanned sectors such as education, human rights awareness, security, agriculture and rural development, public financial management and private sector enhancement, with the primary objective of tackling poverty and achieving sustainable development.
Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, said that a significant portion of the support has gone to infrastructure development including roads, schools and housing projects.
She noted that assistance is being provided in implementing the Justice Reform Programme aimed at improving service delivery in the justice sector “so that people would have better and quicker access to justice and more courts.”
Ambassador Wasilewska, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, said that the EU has also provided budgetary support to strengthen public financial management.
“Everybody knows the success of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme that improves fiscal management and there, we just recognise and strengthen what has already been achieved,” she pointed out.
The EU remains Jamaica’s largest provider of grant resources, which means its contributions do not add to the country’s debt burden.
Ambassador Wasilewska said that the EU does not impose its objectives on the country but works along with the Government based on its own development imperatives.
“We accompany and we partner on the priorities having been identified by the Government,” she noted.
She said that when the EU partners with the Government on a project “the focus is always on how the people of Jamaica will benefit from it.”
“We would like to feel that we have made the biggest contribution to the people of Jamaica in regard to whatever projects we have been supporting,” she added.