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Story Highlights

  • The government’s thrust to establish and sustain a ‘logistics-centred’ economy, will result in a more efficient and business friendly atmosphere.
  • State Minister Ffolkes-Abrahams suggested that Jamaica’s economy at this time needs small business development and growth, and the financing to offer support to the sector.
  • Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Parish Council, Glendon Harris advanced the view that micro financing was the solution to reducing unemployment in the country.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, says that the government’s thrust to establish and sustain a ‘logistics-centred’ economy, will result in a more efficient and business friendly atmosphere.

Addressing a cocktail reception to welcome participants of the 5th Annual Caribbean Microfinance Forum at the Iberostar Rose Hall Hotel Suites in Montego Bay on Monday, June 2, the State Minister reiterated government’s support for the conference which is being staged under the theme, “Building An Environment for Entrepreneurs To Excel”.

She noted that the theme is in keeping with government’s position on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, but it also means “greater wealth-creating opportunities, jobs and inclusive growth; greater opportunities and rewards for entrepreneurship; more possibilities for innovation; doing things faster, more efficiently and in general, an improved business environment with far less bureaucracy.”

Mrs. Ffolkes Abrahams pointed to great expectations across the business environment, informing that over the period 2013 to 2016, the global microfinance market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 16.6 percent which, she said, can be used as an indicator of future growth of regional markets.

“Have we ever stopped to seriously ask the question, ‘why is it that we care about micro enterprises and micro finance?’ Why is it that we have in excess of 10,000 micro finance institutions globally? Why is it that in Latin America and the Caribbean we have more than 600 micro finance institutions with billions of dollars in loans to more than 10 million low-income clients?  Why is it that global growth of 15 to 20 per cent is expected in the micro-finance industry during 2014?” Minister Ffolkes-Abrahams enquired.

She suggested that Jamaica’s economy at this time needs small business development and growth, and the financing to offer support to the sector.

“We are building an environment for entrepreneurs to excel … here in Jamaica and across the Caribbean and we want to welcome and congratulate all of you who are here to participate in this forum which is expected to plan for the development of this initiative,” Minister Ffolkes-Abrahams said.

Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Parish Council, Glendon Harris welcomed the over 155 delegates and presenters from across the region.

The Mayor advanced the view that  micro financing was the solution to reducing unemployment in the country.

“We have been going through challenging times over the years and I am sure that with the right opportunities, our Jamaican people will greatly improve and enhance their entrepreneurship and move up the economic ladder, reducing poverty in the country.  We hope that this conference will serve to enlighten and empower persons to be better entrepreneurs,” Mayor Harris noted.

Participants in the four-day forum will be exploring best practices and trends, as well as challenges being faced within micro enterprises and microfinance providers.

The forum is being jointly funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund (a member of the IDB) the European Union, Caribbean Development Bank, the Citi Foundation.