T&T Eligible To Access €800 Million Regional Fund

Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis is announcing for public information that a new cooperation framework being implemented by the European Union (EU) still counts Trinidad and Tobago as eligible to bid for funding access from a pot of regional resources worth €800 million.

This was disclosed in a meeting with the Ambassador of the Delegation to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago His Excellency Peter Cavendish on January 11, 2022.  During this meeting, Minister Robinson-Regis and Ambassador Cavendish agreed to continue collaborating to aggressively explore funding and technical assistance from the regional fund to develop projects aimed at enhancing Trinidad and Tobago’s green economy, the digital economy, water resources, revitalizing the cocoa industry and innovation. 

The new framework of cooperation between the European Union and its Partners ‘2021 to 2027: Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI)’ focuses on supporting Latin American and Caribbean countries finance projects in key sectors that are essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, such as sustainable energy, environment, water, transport, inclusive social services, and support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

Minister Robinson-Regis also emphasizes that Trinidad and Tobago has commenced working with the EU in this regard through the Latin American and Caribbean Investment Facility (LACIF) and the Ministry’s Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit in areas related to the environment and sustainable energy.  The Planning Minister cites green hydrogen, dubbed the fuel of the future, as one of the major areas for active exploration by this government as part of global transition to sustainable energy and net zero emissions economies, therefore the work started with the EU in this regard will help to meet Trinidad and Tobago’s energy transition goals. 

The Ministry of Planning and Development and the EU through its Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) programme have also initiated projects with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  One involves a €2.4 million (TT $16 million) project which has awarded Solar Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to 12 recipients which include the Aquaculture Unit at Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries; Brasso Seco Paria Tourism Action Committee; Brasso Seco Village Council Community Centre; Brasso Venado Government Primary School; the Caribbean Institute of Astronomy; J.C. MacDonald Home for the Aged; Nature Seekers; the Reptile Conservation Center; Speyside High School; Strong Ones Youth Club; the Division of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries – Tobago House of Assembly and the TT Red Cross Society.

The second project is the installation of a commercial scale solar panel system, via a solar park, at Piarco International Airport with an annual generation capacity of 1,443,830 Kilowatt hours (kWh).  The Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is also a key partner in this €4 million grant funded project.

The Ministry of Planning, EU Delegation, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) have also collaborated to launch a programme called ‘Shaping the Future of Innovation’. This initiative is funded under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), amounting to US$10 Million, with the aim of building a more innovative and competitive economy in Trinidad and Tobago, through economic diversification.  A call for applicants from the private sector is currently underway.

Ambassador Cavendish also stressed the EU’s continuous commitment to Trinidad and Tobago which is 45 years old.  His Excellency identified the digital economy and the cocoa industry as other areas for possible financing via the LACIF’s €800 million Regional Fund.  He cited Trinidad and Tobago’s high levels of workforce education, having the second best roads in the region and one of the top rated ports as being in our favour for European investment opportunities.   The Ambassador also stated that these advantages augur well for Trinidad and Tobago to access grant funding and technical assistance offerings from the European Development Bank, which is the oldest development financial institution in the world. 

Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis and Head of EU Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago Peter Cavendish chat following their official meeting on January 11, 2022, 
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