Jamaica will intensify efforts to secure US$billions in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), as the Government looks to implement a number of strategic projects that have the potential to sustain economic growth and development.
This was stated by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC), Hon. Anthony Hylton on February 15, as he addressed an investment forum staged by Mayberry Investments at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
He argued that given the scale of projects that “we must undertake in order to achieve any significant measure of economic transformation, FDI is expected to play an even greater role in the economic development of the country."
He stated that these efforts will also include partnerships involving the “local and foreign private sector investment communities, and the public sector, based on a structure with well-defined roles and responsibilities for each partner."
Jamaica was able to attract an average of US$682.5 million per annum in FDI in the decade of the 2000s, with the stock estimated at US$10.9 billion at the end of 2010.
In 2008, alone, the country attracted US$1.4 billion in FDI flows, which Minister Hylton attributed to “inflows in the agricultural/manufacturing/distribution; and the information communications technology (ICT) sectors, which increased by 61 per cent and 56.2 per cent, respectively, relative to 2007.
However, as a result of the global economic downturn, FDI flows to Jamaica plunged in 2009 and 2010, with declines of 62.35 per cent and 57.91 per cent, respectively.
The Minister expressed optimism that as the global recession recedes and the pace of recovery gathers momentum among developed economies, Jamaica will be able to attract the level of investment needed.
“Jamaica’s strength as an investment location is grounded in a number of factors: its large English speaking population, competitive wages, accessibility to a diverse labour pool, and its ideal location for trading with the rest of the Western Hemisphere.”
“The island’s additional advantages include its proximity to the United States, its historic and emerging relationship with the Latin American bloc and its proximity to the Panama Canal as well as the fact that it is endowed with an abundance of natural resources and a well-developed infrastructure,” he declared.
The country’s investment opportunities will be showcased at the JAMPRO-organised ‘Jamaica Investment Forum 2012’ set for March 1 to 2, where investment opportunities in key growth sectors will be showcased.
The event, which will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre will present a portfolio of significant projects across different sectors, and highlight a slate of high profile local and international speakers to share ideas on the way forward.
“Investors, both local and foreign, stand to benefit from insightful information pertaining to the Government of Jamaica’s investment policies and incentive regimes,” Minister Hylton stated.
He noted that the event will also provide “networking opportunities among existing investors and leaders in the local business community. Investors will also have the opportunity to see first-hand some of the select investment projects on specially arranged JAMPRO site visits and private meetings."
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter