Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into Jamaica swelled to US $362 million last year, representing a 66 per cent increase over the US$218 million in inflows for 2011.
The information is contained in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) ‘World Investment Report 2013’, which was officially launched on Wednesday, June 26, at JAMPRO’s New Kingston offices.
The figure represents steady growth since 2010, even while the figure remains below the annual average of some US$800 million between 2005 to 2007 and US$500 million in 2009.
JAMPRO Chairman, Milton Samuda, attributed the increase in FDIs to investments in the major growth industries that JAMPRO has been aggressively promoting such as the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and tourism sectors.
“Last year alone witnessed two major investments in BPO – Sutherland Global and Hinduja. The tourism sector also benefited from the entry of a new brand in our market, Memories White Sand,” he informed.
He noted that the report also revealed that for the first time ever, developing countries attracted more FDIs than developed countries, accounting for 52 per cent of inflows. Developing economies also generated almost one third of global FDI outflows, continuing a steady upward trend.
Mr. Samuda noted that despite the increase, “we must remain vigilant in shaping and attracting the type of investments that will always augur best for our country’s development. We still have much work to do to reach and surpass our FDI levels in the pre-economic crisis years,” he said.
The JAMPRO Chairman also posited that the country needs policies that attract Transnational Corporations (TNCs) “so that we can become integrated into their value chains”. TNCs account for 80 per cent of global trade, the UNCTAD report said.
“We also need to develop products and services that will serve TNCs, whether or not they seek to come to our shores,” Mr. Samuda said.
Acting JAMPRO President, Wendy Lyttle, who gave an overview of the global investment flows into the country in 2012, noted that FDIs facilitated by JAMPRO resulted in the creation of almost 8,000 jobs across a number of sectors but primarily in the BPOs.
She pointed to several major projects including: Sutherland Global Services, which established operations last year at the University of the West and created 300 jobs with prospects for 3,000 more in three years; and Hinduja Global, which generated 500 jobs with another 3,000 to come on stream.
She further cited Vistaprint, which completed a 100,000 square feet facility in the Montego Bay Free Zone at a value of US $25 million; Columbus Communications, which undertook major expansion and upgrade valued at US$20 million; the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company’s construction of a hydro electric plant in St. Elizabeth; and Memories Resorts contribution to inflows in the tourism sector and creation of 150 jobs.
Ms. Lyttle also pointed out that FDI project inflows were recorded in three main sectors – primary industry, manufacturing and services.
Contact: Andrea Braham