The Dominican Republic is an upper/middle-income country, with the largest economy of Central America and the Caribbean. Since the early nineties the Dominican Republic experienced sustained economic growth (7.3% GDP in 2014) with relatively low inflation rates. Progress has been made towards Millennium Development Goals and extreme poverty has dropped, however, challenges to inclusive growth persist. The Dominican Republic is member of both the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Cariforum Group of ACP Countries. The country is also a signatory of the EU-Caribbean Partnership Agreement (EPA), a comprehensive free trade agreement.
EU cooperation 2014-2020
Under the 11th EDF (2014-2020) the financial allocation for the Dominican Republic totals €72 million. The EU financial support to the national development strategy is built around two focal sectors, namely, inclusive productive development and capacity building for quality employment and institutional reforms of public administration.
EU cooperation 2007-2013
Under the 10th EDF the 2007-2013 allocation for the Dominican Republic amounted to up to €179 million. Cooperation focused on poverty reduction, human development and social cohesion (notably education), institution building (mainly modernisation of the public administration), and enhancing competitiveness. Strengthening relations with neighbouring Haiti and supporting non-state actors and local authorities have been also present in EU cooperation.
The Dominican Republic was also a beneficiary of the EU’s accompanying measures for bananas, a multi-faceted scheme put in place to assist economic diversification in those ACP countries for which bananas are a traditional economic mainstay. As a member of the Forum of the Caribbean Group of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (CARIFORUM), the Dominican Republic benefits from regional programmes funded under the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes.
EU cooperation was instrumental in introducing strategic planning in key institutions in the country, such as the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Consumers' Commission, National Competitiveness Council, as well as creating and initiating the operations of the National Quality System (SIDOCAL).
The EU has also financed programmes under thematic lines that promote gender equality, migration and the right of nationality, local development and environment. The budget allocated for thematic lines between 2008-2013 was €40 million.
Dominican Republic is signatory of the EU-Central America Association Agreement, a comprehensive free trade agreement with a strong focus on development cooperation. Dominican Republic will benefit during 2014-2020 from the EU sub-regional programme for Central America (€120 million). It must be noted that the focal sectors of cooperation for the sub-regional have evolved for this period. In the past, cooperation was mainly focused on social cohesion and economic growth, while the new programming exercise responds to the emerging needs of the region, namely security and impunity, climate change and private sector development as a vehicle for generating employment opportunities.