Montserrat is one of the important Overseas Territories of the UK.  Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airport and seaports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998 but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops.

Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. Half of the island remains uninhabitable. Montserrat exports very little and imports 95% of its consumption.  UK is funding more than half of the recurrent budget.

BERF work in Montserrat

BERF completed a business environment reform diagnostic study in 2017.

BERF Montserrat projects

  1. Montserrat Business Environment Capacity Building


DFID Montserrat Strategy 

Better policies and financial management in Montserrat, helping the island’s government better provide for its citizens.

Increase contributions from the government to meeting the costs of public services, with the aim of helping a transition to self-sufficiency and reducing reliance on aid.

Montserrat is one of 14 Overseas Territories which are important strategic assets to the UK. They constitute an estimated 90% of the UK’s biodiversity. DFID’s spending in the OTs helps fulfil the UK Government’s UN obligations to promote the development and wellbeing of the people living in the most vulnerable OTs. Since the 1970s, UK policy commits DFID to meeting the reasonable assistance needs of Montserrat amongst three ODA eligible OTs as a first call on the aid budget. The UK’s long term goal is to enable OTs to be self-sufficient. A number of OTs have graduated from aid. Without economic development, the chronic budget deficit means Montserrat is eligible for aid and will be dependent on UK aid indefinitely. Montserrat is largely self-governing and legal liability rests primarily with the Montserrat Government. The UK Government is, however, held responsible by Parliament, the press and the UK public for the actions of the OTs’ governments and their people.