The Bahamas stretches over a large area south-east of Florida and comprises 700 islands of which only 30 are inhabited. More than three quarters of the population are concentrated on two islands. The economy is heavily dependent on tourism and financial services. The tourism sector alone accounts for about 40% of the country's economic activity. Per capita income is relatively high but wealth is not distributed evenly throughout the country. Especially the less populated islands have a much lower standard of living and only access to basic infrastructure. In the more remote south-eastern islands, there is a significant amount of poverty. A key challenge for the Government is therefore to promote equitable social and economic development.
The Country Strategy Paper for the Bahamas (2008-2013) presents the strategic framework for the co-operation between the European Commission (EC) and the Bahamas under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). EC assistance under the 10th EDF will concentrate on capacity development for the outer islands to improve infrastructure and to increase the outer islands' economic activity in the area of goods and services due to improved market access.
The EC's total allocation (2008-2013) foreseen for the Bahamas to address these priorities amounts to €5 million.
All EU projects in the Bahamas will also address cross-cutting issues such as democracy, good governance, human rights, the rights of children and indigenous people, gender, environment and HIV/AIDS.
The Country Strategy Paper for the Bahamas (2002-2007) under 9th EDF focussed on capacity building for the outer islands to strengthen local stakeholders (government, private sector and civil society organisations) to improve the competitiveness of SMEs and to ensure better maintenance of local infrastructure.
For further details on projects and programmes in the Bahamas funded from the European Development Fund and the general budget of the EU, please visit the project's section of the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, responsible for the Bahamas.
Other sources of information
The Directorate-General for Development is responsible for drawing up the cooperation strategy with the Bahamas.
More information on EU relations with the Bahamas is available on the pages of the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, which is also responsible for co-operation activities in the country.
Information on trade relations in the ACP region can be found on the website of the Directorate-General for Trade.