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Jamaica is to host a Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) on May 2, aimed at facilitating private sector led growth and job creation.

The forum will be held at the University of the West Indies, and will see participants from the public and private sectors, academia and the media; decision makers, business leaders, policy makers, young people and other stakeholders discussing and brainstorming solutions to deal with the problems that are impacting growth in the country.

Details of the Jamaican leg of the forum were outlined at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on April 25 by Programme Director, Vision 2030 Jamaica, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Richard Lumsden.

Mr. Lumsden said that the CGF was complementary to the government’s growth agenda and is therefore a welcomed event at this time.

Jamaica, as with other Caribbean countries, faces fiscal challenges, against the background of the global financial crisis. Consequently, many are advocating for the identification of practical and implementable policies and activities to induce growth and create jobs throughout the region.

The CGF, Mr. Lumsden stated, is a regional project supported by a number of international development partners, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Compete Caribbean, in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

“The workshop will focus on three main areas – Logistics and Connectivity, the Investment Climate and Skills and Productivity – all aligned to the growth agenda,” he said.

Meanwhile, General Manager, Caribbean Country Department at the IDB, Gerard Johnson, noted that there is a comfortable level of confidence by the IDB and other donor/grant agencies in what can be accomplished by the Caribbean Growth Forum. He added that the lack of growth is not just a Jamaican problem.

Mr. Johnson pointed out that Jamaica was perhaps one of the most studied and talked about economies.

“I’d wager that most people know what Jamaica is good at. There are so many good initiatives out there. What this is about is coming on board with some enthusiasm and energy with experiences from other countries,” he said.

“The idea is to join with you in the efforts you’re already making to convene groups and in an urgent fashion, put Jamaica on a growth path and bring international experiences in that area. Hopefully our presence, our energies and commitment to work with you and be guided by you, will help accelerate what you’re doing already,” he added.

By O. Rodger Hutchinson, JIS Reporter