Planning Minister: Trinidad and Tobago can access Euros from 800m fund

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


File photo: Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said TT is still eligible to bid for funding access from regional resources worth 800 million Euros.

She said the funds are available under a new co-operation framework being implemented by the European Union (EU).

At a meeting with EU Delegation Ambassador Peter Cavendish, she said, they agreed to continue collaborating to aggressively explore funding and technical assistance from the regional fund to develop projects aimed at enhancing TT’s green economy, the digital economy, water resources, revitalising the cocoa industry and innovation.

In a release, Robinson-Regis said the framework, titled 2021 to 2027: Neighbourhood, Development and International Co-operation Instrument, focuses on supporting Latin American and Caribbean countries to finance projects in key sectors essential to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as sustainable energy, environment, water, transport, inclusive social services, and support to small and medium-sized enterprises.

She said TT has begun working with the EU 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.

“Green hydrogen, dubbed the fuel of the future, is 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 TT’s energy transition goals.”

The release said the ministry and the EU have initiated two major projects with the UN Development Fund through its Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) programme. The first is a $16 million/ €2.4 million project which has awarded solar photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to 12 recipients, while the second is the installation of a €4 million 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).

It said the ministry, 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, which is funded under the 11th European Development Fund, amounting to US$10 million. It said a call for applicants from the private sector is under way.

Cavendish identified the digital economy and the cocoa industry as other areas for possible financing via the regional fund.

He cited TT’s high levels of workforce education, having the second-best roads in the region and one of the top rated ports as being in the country’s favour for European investment opportunities. He said these advantages augur well for TT to access grant funding and technical assistance from the European Development Bank, which is the oldest development financial institution in the world.