GIZ is a German development agency headquartered in Bonn and Eschborn that provides services in the field of international development cooperation. The country office in the Dominican Republic manages projects and programmes in 15 Caribbean countries, and as at 2017, 59 national and 21 international employees, 6 integrated specialists and 6 development workers were working in the region.
GIZ is supporting the efforts of Caribbean states to cope with the following challenges within the scope of several projects:
- Adapting to climate change
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Sustainable use of natural resources and renewable energy
- Natural resource conservation
- Coastal zone management.
Working with Caribbean countries are largely dependent on fossil fuels to supply most of their energy needs. In Jamaica fossil fuel imports account for 28 percent of merchandise imports, and for 27 percent in both Guyana and Cuba. One of the main consumers of energy imports in the region is the transport industry.
Having regard to this, a study – “Greening Vehicular Transport in the Caribbean” – was commissioned by an international donor organisation. The main goal of this project was to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to assess whether the electrification of transport in a small island economy – Barbados – could reduce dependence on fossil fuels, boost economic growth and enhance sustainability.
Antilles Economics was engaged by the organisation to conduct the study and present the results at a regional workshop involving policymakers.
What we did
This project required a number of research approaches.
First, stakeholder interviews were conducted with individuals in transport, finance, and electricity generation and distribution.
Second, a survey of consumers was conducted to assess their willingness to use and pay for electric vehicles as well as their general opinions and views on greening transport.
Finally, the primary data collected was combined with secondary data to provide an assessment of the potential impact of greening transportation on foreign exchange reserves, business investment, the environment, fiscal balances and economic growth.
The study found that greening the transport industry could hold a number of macroeconomic and environmental benefits, such as having a national store of renewable energy. The paper also reported that there is demand for electric vehicles but the current incentive structure is somewhat perverse.
The results from the project were presented to a regional group of stakeholders and policymakers interested in transportation that attended the Electric Vehicles Conference organised by our client. Since the dissemination of the report more countries in the Caribbean have begun the electrification of their transport industry, particularly in the OECS. In addition, many of these countries have reformed their tax and duty structure to make electric vehicles more economically feasible.