KINGSTON — President of JAMPRO, Sancia Bennett-Templer, says the agency will be working to formulate a major strategy to take advantage of emerging investment opportunities.
The JAMPRO head said international trends have shown that foreign direct investments (FDIs) are poised for recovery. She said the agency is working to ensure that the country can take advantage of these prospects.
Speaking at JAMPRO’s “Invest in Jamaica: Kingston Forum” at the Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston on Thursday (June 2), Mrs. Bennett-Templer disclosed that JAMPRO will be working with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and other international experts, to formulate a plan. A former employee of the Ireland Development Agency has been identified as a consultant, to work along with JAMPRO on the project.
“We will be looking at the value proposition that Jamaica has to offer. We will be again at developing new material coming out of the analysis, and then we will be going much more strongly into the marketplace,” she stated.
She noted that foreign investments in Latin America and the Caribbean waned over the years, with reductions of about 36 to 39 per cent recorded, but recent trends show that a recovery is in sight.
“We have found, over the last several months, at JAMPRO that we’re seeing more and more persons coming into Jamaica, and we’re seeing more interest as we go into the field. We have been fielding several inward missions in the recent months…including missions coming out of China, North America, and Europe,” she explained.
The JAMPRO boss noted that international investors have been showing particular interest in the local Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, and over the last few months, the agency has fielded inward missions from companies seeking to invest in Jamaica.
“We have also found dormant leads which are coming back to the table, companies which have been at the table two, three years in the past, are coming again into Jamaica, and we’re seeing new expressions of interest. So, we are very encouraged and we are very bullish on investments,” she said.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, who gave the main address, noted that a part of the strategy for Jamaica moving forward is to find additional markets that will provide greater opportunities for investment.
“We are going to need the kind of investments that are not spearfished, not seduced, but investments that are almost intuitive, almost instinctive, where we create a proclivity to invest,” Mr. Golding said.
He noted that what is really going to sustain the kind of investment momentum that the country needs, is growth that is consistent, at least over the next 10 years.
Mr. Golding said this will require a cultural shift, as Jamaica is coming out of a long period when the inclination and conditions were not encouraging for investors. He added that while the conditions are changing, it will take time and has to be done in partnership.
He pointed out that the export market was not without its challenges, but there are still opportunities to be identified, as numerous things are produced in Jamaica which do not rely heavily on imported inputs.
JAMPRO’s “Invest in Jamaica: Kingston Forum” was also attended by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, and a number of top local investors, including, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the LASCO Group, Lascelles Chin; President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Milton Samuda; and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Corporate Strategies,Aubyn Hill.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter