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President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Sancia Bennett-Templer, has said that the two-day Jamaica Investment Forum was a success, with a number of persons expressing “very strong interest” in investing in Jamaica.

Speaking with JIS News after the JAMPRO CEO breakfast meeting on March 02, 2012 at Iberostar Rose Hall Hotel, she stated that “we are extremely encouraged by the responses we have had…..the investors absolutely enjoyed being at the event, the availability of members of the government, the participation by the Prime Minister herself…I think the message has gone out that Jamaica is ready and open for business.”

She informed that several investors have stayed behind to do site visits and begin the due diligence process.

Mrs. Bennett-Templer stated that the forum, held from March 1-2 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in S. James, provided the opportunity for investors to talk with members from the local business community, with high possibility of partnerships and joint venture arrangements.

“The conference created an unprecedented opportunity for investors to be able to interact with the members of government, senior officers of various ministries, agencies and departments, the local private sector, and other investors from overseas, who have made it Jamaica,” she outlined.

“It provided the ability to get a lot of information to make a lot of contacts and to have first-hand knowledge as quickly as possible,” she added.

She informed that a few firms, with which JAMPRO was in discussions prior to the conference, had attended the event, “and I believe the forum has advanced the process for them in terms of making their decision and we hope that we will be able to speak more strongly about that very shortly.”

Meanwhile, several attendees expressed their satisfaction with the proceedings and spoke of the many benefits and potential investments that the event may generate.

Investment Consultant Peter Mitchell, who brought in some investors from Russia, who are interested in setting up an ethanol plant, said he was pleased with the opportunity for networking.

He added that the sessions were “quite beneficial” and his team was able to meet with the ministers, resulting in strong interest and enthusiasm on both sides.

President of Aegis Communication, a large business process outsourcing (BPO) company, San Dipson, noted that he is examing the possibilities of using Jamaica as a near-shore destination for call centres and BPO for US clients.

“I got a fair bit of encouragement. I heard the ministers say the right thing, JAMPRO has been very active, so I am very encouraged by what I heard and of course, we need to do some more due diligence but this was a great start,” he expressed.

The event saw more than 120 high net-worth investors from 16 countries, including the United States of America (USA), Russia, China and Japan in attendance.

Spearheaded by JAMPRO and the Compete Caribbean programme, the forum was a joint effort of the United Kingston Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with public sector partners including HEART/NTA, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).

 

By Kadian Brown, JIS Reporter