A British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, Saint-Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha are situated mid-way between the South American and African continents. The three islands do not form a coherent island grouping but are located several thousands of kilometres apart and they have combined population of 5134 (St. Helena accounts for 4000, Ascension for roughly 873 and Tristan da Cunha for 261). The economic situation of the three islands varies due to their complex and challenging geographical situation and their limited natural resources.
Saint-Helena’s economy is fragile and dominated by the public sector. The island depends heavily on aid from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Development Fund (EDF). Saint-Helena's sole exports are small quantities of fish and coffee. Tourism growth is constrained by poor access, with the average annual number of stay-over tourists being only around 800.
Ascension is in the South Atlantic, some 1,125 km north-west of St Helena and around 3,200km east of Brazil. It covers an area of 90 sq km and is of volcanic origin. Ascension continues to provide a re-fuelling stop-over point for RAF flights to the Falklands and a small United Kingdom military presence to support these flights. The island hosts many communications and relay stations, exploiting the island's strategic position in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Tristan da Cunha is largely self-sufficient. The economy relies predominantly on the income from the island’s highly sustainable lobster fishery. Tristan da Cunha hosts a commercial rock lobster industry, operated under an exclusive concession.
In order to improve access in St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, the focal area under the 10th EDF is infrastructure development, with an increased focus on social development, via an amount of 16.63 million euros.
Under the 11th EDF, the territory has been granted an indicative amount of €21.5 million for the period 2014-2020.