Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba. It has a land area of 10,991 km² and a population of 2.78 M (July 2007 estimate). The annual growth rate of the population is 0.78%. Literacy rate is 87%; average life expectancy is 73.1 years. GDP per capita amounted to € 3,148 in 2006 and is as such a middle income country. Jamaica is a small open economy traditionally based around the production of bauxite and sugar. However over the last decade the economy has shifted increasingly towards the provision of services, in particular tourism.
The country faces two major challenges, the high level of public debt and crime, which are actively addressed by Government but considerably more needs to be done. Another issue is the brain drain. Jamaica has been a traditional emigration country for many decades. According to recent statistics it is the world's number one suffers from brain drain. Emigration figures fluctuate around 20.000 per year. Migrants used to move to the UK but the last decades there has been a definite shift to the USA and Canada. Migrant remittances are significant and amounted in 2005 to US 1.5 billion or 13.3% of GDP.
Jamaica concluded the negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) at the end of 2007. The EC is the most important grant donor to Jamaica. The 10th EDF Country Strategy 2008-2013 has a financial envelope of € 110 m in programmable resources and € 12.9 m for unforeseen needs. The main thrust of the country strategy is to address the two major challenges facing the country, those being the high level of public debt and crime. The breakdown of the programmable resources is as follows:
In addition, Jamaica will be receiving € 82.7 m over the period 2006-2010 under the Accompanying Measures for ACP Sugar Protocol Countries, in order to adjust to the new trade regime for sugar. These funds will be utilised for macro economic support and support to the sugar cane sector and economic diversification in sugar producing areas.