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Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) launched the Jamaica Cluster Competitiveness Project (JCCP) last week (Feb. 21) at a summit attended by representatives from various sectors of the economy.
  • He gave the assurance that the project has the full support of the Government, adding that the,
  • The project is being funded by the British Department For International Development (DFID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) launched the Jamaica Cluster Competitiveness Project (JCCP) last week (Feb. 21) at a summit attended by representatives from various sectors of the economy.

The JCCP is designed to improve the competitiveness of local companies in both the local and international markets. It was launched under the theme ‘Practical Results to Increase Export Competitiveness’ at the Knutsford Court Hotel. Stimulating new and innovative ways of thinking, the JCCP also builds trust, networking and shared vision for cooperation in areas of common interest, and facilitating an environment linked more closely to the strategic requirements of firms. Minister of Development, Dr. Paul Robertson who spoke at the launch congratulated the JEA for establishing the project.

He said that the JCCP was timely, as the 2001 Global Competitive Report (GCR) showed some slippage in the ranking of the competitiveness of Jamaica’s business environment against 80 other United Nations (UN) economies.
“The 2001 GCR ranking makes the point that innovation-driven competitiveness rather than factor-driven competitiveness is driving increase market shares for world companies and their economies as well,” he said.

The Minister said that competitiveness requires that private sector agents respond quickly to the market signal.
He gave the assurance that the project has the full support of the Government, adding that the, “Ministry of Development supports this initiative very strongly and we look forward to Jamaica realizing ever greater levels of competitiveness, competitive advantage in these clusters of companies “.

“This project we hope will lead to increased profits, new markets, new business partnerships, new opportunities for employment and sustained economic growth and development. I hope that we can bring all of these together in the interest of Jamaica,” the Minister said.
The project is being funded by the British Department For International Development (DFID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Giving details of the project, Mosina Jordan, Mission Director of the USAID said that the JCCP was initially intended to work with 60 small and medium-sized firms in three Jamaican business clusters over two years.
The goal of the JCCP is to generate prosperity in Jamaica by building new competitive advantages at the firm level, increase its export capacity and therefore its contribution to the nation’s economy.

With funding from DFID, USAID, the Government of Jamaica and the JEA, ontheFRONTIER, a Boston-based consulting firm has been contracted to lead the project over the next two years.
A full time team is now based in the island and has begun to meet with Jamaican firms to discuss how they can benefit from the JCCP. ontheFRONTIER will also collaborate with other Jamaican institutions including the Mona School of Business and local firms.

David Rabkin, JCCP Project Director told JIS News that the project would establish eight clusters. The first cluster will focus on Agro business, which he said, “is an important sector to our economy in many ways. It is large and it is growing. The real reason why it was selected was because the people who came to the table were ready to go”.
He said the other clusters would include tourism, entertainment, light manufacturing, mining, textiles, ICT, shipping and berthing.

The JCCP was started in 2000 when the JEA approached DFID and USAID requesting a partnership with the aim of improving the growth and international competitiveness of Jamaica’s exports.