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Story Highlights

  • The government is exploring avenues to encourage greater participation in Jamaica’s financial market.
  • The move is being undertaken in collaboration with the World Bank and other stakeholders.
  • A substantial macroeconomic platform is fundamental to efforts to attract Diaspora investments, and assure members of tangible dividends.

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, says the government is exploring avenues to encourage greater participation in Jamaica’s financial market.

Dr. Phillips, who made the disclosure while addressing a forum hosted for members of the Diplomatic Corps at the Courtleigh Hotel, New Kingston, on Wednesday, February 5, said the move is being undertaken in collaboration with the World Bank and other stakeholders.

Noting that the Diaspora is being targeted, he said that a substantial macroeconomic platform is fundamental to efforts to attract Diaspora investments, and assure members of tangible dividends.

“You need to offer good prospects for a return on the investment to your Diaspora as you would need to (do) for any other investor. They are not going to invest for lower rates of return than they can get in other markets,” Dr. Phillips said.

He noted that State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, has, as part of his portfolio responsibilities, engaging the Diaspora in dialogue on such matters.

Mr. Brown, in his remarks, advised that the draft Diaspora and Development Policy, which will form part of the country’s International Migration and Development Policy, focuses on the matter of Diaspora direct investment, being pursued by the Ministry, in collaboration with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).

“As part of our development of this policy, we have looked at other countries that have Diaspora relations and…partnerships,…Ireland is one of them (and) Israel is yet another, to look at best practices to see how we can adapt those in the context of Jamaica,” he stated.

Mr. Brown described as “instructive”, the focus placed on investment and trade during 2013 Diaspora Conference in Jamaica, which he said, heightened participants’ awareness of the country’s potential investment opportunities, citing agriculture and the Global Logistics Hub initiative.

“So I think that, moving forward, the Diaspora will be an important element, in terms of the investment platform and Minister (Phillips) is correct (in saying that) we have to treat them as we would do with any other foreign direct investors.  We have to demonstrate to them that there is a value proposition, and that is exactly what we are seeking to do,” Mr. Brown said.

The forum formed part of activities being held, between February 2 and 7, to mark Diplomatic Week under the theme: ‘Partnership for Growth’.