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Minister of Development Dr. The Hon. Paul Robertson has said that the management and economic performance of the country, has led to the growing confidence of institutional investors in the growth prospects of the economy, resulting in, among many other positives, the country being granted approved destination status by the Chinese government.
“In the next couple of years, we could be receiving several thousand Chinese visitors per year. This is a significant development and has tremendous implications for the economy,” he said.
“Globally, Jamaica is currently a hot investment destination. Since the start of the year we have had several high level trade delegations from China, Brazil, Mexico, Ghana and Cuba. These countries have expressed an interest in the areas of tourism, bauxite and alumina, mining, construction, information and telecommunication, shipping and berthing, among others,” Dr. Robertson noted.
The Minister was delivering the keynote address at the Hanover Homecoming Foundation’s second annual Bird of Paradise awards dinner at the Tryall Golf Club in Hanover, recently.
Dr. Robertson pointed out that the growing confidence in Jamaica was reflected by the “relative ease” with which Jamaica was able to raise funds on the international capital markets. He also mentioned the positive reviews, which the country had received from international rating agencies as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“I am confident in the future of Jamaica’s economy and my confidence is based on the fact that our macro-economic fundamentals are correct. This is underscored by the US$1 billion plus investment, which has commenced with the phased expansion of JAMALCo, and which will see the doubling of capacity to 2.4 million metric tonnes of alumina over the next two years. There will be an immediate infusion of US$300 million in the local economy as a direct result of the expansion of the JAMALCo plant,” the Minister pointed out.
He said that because an international company of the reputation of Alcoa has invested so heavily in the Jamaican economy, this would help significantly to attract other international investors.
“In light of these developments, I believe that it is appropriate that Hanover Homecoming 2005 should be seeking to award those with entrepreneurial acumen, as we need to encourage and foster the entrepreneurial spirit. There are many investment opportunities emerging,” Dr. Robertson stressed.
He cited the Fiesta Group from Spain, which is currently planning to construct a 1,500-room hotel. He said this project was expected to create some 3,000 jobs for residents of the parish, thus reviving the economic fortunes of the town of Lucea.
Seven individuals and businesses from across the parish were presented with the Foundation’s special awards.