July 5, 2020

Caribbean aid trade for trade and regional integration trust fund (CARTFund)

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DFIDManagement Response & Recommendations Action Plan

Evaluation Report: Caribbean aid for trade and regional integration trust fund (CARTFund)

Response to Evaluation Report

The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has provided £10.1 million to help Caribbean countries and businesses implement and take advantage of the Caribbean trade and development deal with the European Union (the Economic Partnership Agreement / EPA) and the Caribbean’s own regional economic integration initiative (the CARICOM Single Market and Economy / CSME). The UK’s support was intended to encourage increased trade with the European Union and within the Caribbean. This would contribute to increased economic growth and prosperity in the Caribbean, reducing poverty and supporting human development.

Support was delivered through the ‘Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund’ (CARTFund). This was managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and operated as a basket fund financing individual projects, overseen by a Steering Committee chaired by DFID to approve sub-projects. Eligible Governments, civil society and private sector organisations were invited to bid for funding for activities that were relevant to the goal of implementing and capitalising on the EPA and the CSME. 32 sub-projects were supported by the CARTFund; seven providing support to regional organisations while the remaining 25 provided direct support to national public and private sector entities in 14 Caribbean countries.

An independent evaluation of the CARTFund was completed in May 2015. It found that the major contribution of CARTFund had been towards EPA implementation, rather than the CSME. In part this may be because the EPA was new, and so there were more ‘quick wins’ that could be delivered, against the more difficult task of supporting progress towards a long agreed, yet slowly implemented, CSME. In general CARTFund performed well against its output indicators, reflecting effective management of the portfolio of subprojects. Performance against the outcome and impact indicators was weaker, and the evaluation found that some of these targets were unrealistic or impossible to accurately measure.

The findings, lessons and recommendations from the evaluation have been shared with the Caribbean Development Bank, which has accepted and is taking action on many of the recommendations. The evaluation has been shared within DFID Caribbean (where it will inform the development of the new portfolio of economic growth focused projects and other projects with CDB) and with DFID’s Europe department, to inform the UK’s approach to trade for aid and EPAs in other parts of the world.

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