State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, says that Jamaica should see an upswing in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) this year, based on several mega projects underway and others to be implemented.
He made the declaration as he provided details about the upcoming Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at a recent session with the Montego Bay business community at the Sunset Resort.
Mr. Brown stated that Jamaica has performed creditably in attracting FDIs over the last few years, even with the downturn in the global economy.
[Special Page: 5th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference]
He stated that the Government, through the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, has taken meaningful steps to give Jamaica a competitive edge and this has paid off with the country able to attract US$381 million in investments in 2012. This was a US$139 million increase of over the US$242 million in FDIs in 2011.
“Despite the downturn in the global economy, Jamaica has seen an uptick in traffic. There has been marked improvement…and foreign direct investment is set to take off with the investment in our infrastructure, continuation of Highway 2000 – that is going to be a US$620 million investment from the Chinese. They have (also) indicated an interest in the Logistic Hub, to the tune of US$1.5 billion,” he informed.
Mr. Brown also cited investment opportunities through the Agro Parks project, and in the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector, for which the Government has earmarked some $1 billion in support.
“I expect that there will be continued, significant investment, both locally, and foreign. If we are able, through this (Diaspora) conference, to stimulate interest from the Jamaican Diaspora, which is about 3.3 million people, and worth far more than US$2 billion, I am confident that we will see high levels of investment,” he stated.
The Diaspora Conference, themed: “A Nation on a Mission – Jamaica Diaspora Partnership for Development”, will be staged at the Montego Bay Conference Centre from June 16 to 19.
It will involve hundreds of participants representing several Jamaican organisations, as well as professional and business interests drawn from communities in Jamaica, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.
Mr. Brown stated that the event will provide the opportunity for linkages between local and overseas-based investors, citing as an example, the partnership between Golden Krust and Wisynco, “where they teamed up for a sizeable United States (US) fast food and beverage market”.
“You have persons, who are in food processing, but they lack capital to expand their businesses, and just like how you have Golden Krust partnering with a Wisynco, you can have Diaspora persons partnering with local persons to enhance and expand their businesses,” he stated.
He also told the gathering of business people that vast returns can be made from investments in tourism, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), sports, and the creative industries.
The State Minister said an implementation process will be put in place to follow through on opportunities coming out of the conference. “The work actually begins when we have made the necessary connections and we follow-through,” he stated.
Contact: Garfield L. Angus