KINGSTON — A major investment in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector has been secured by Jamaica, which will result in the employment of nearly 1,000 persons when fully operational in 2012.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Christopher Tufton, made the announcement at a press briefing at JAMPRO, New Kingston on Tuesday (December 7).
The multi-million dollar investment will create the first Jamaican Contact Center, owned by Convergys Corporation, one of the largest agent-assisted customer service companies in the world, which will be located in Montego Bay, St James.
Welcoming the investment, the Minister observed that the Government of Jamaica has identified the ICT sector and, in particular, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), as a strategic catalytic element in its development plan.
"The opportunities for job creation from this sector, as well as for the raising of the international profile of Jamaica, particularly within the context of the recovering global economy, are significant," Dr. Tufton said.
He added that the Government intends to continue facilitating the growth of the nearly 30 players in the local BPO sector, which currently employs some 11,000 workers.
The Minister praised JAMPRO for making the investment a reality, in partnership with a number of other agencies of the Ministry, as well as the HEART Trust/NTA.
Convergys Corporation is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It operates in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and now the Caribbean. Jamaica is Convergys’s first data contact centre in the Caribbean.
Convergys is a member of Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 and Forbes' Platinum 400, and is the acclaimed global leader in integrated billing, employee care and customer care services provided through outsourcing or licensing. The Company serves more than half of the Fortune 50 global companies as clients, and handles billions of customer interactions per year, processing over one trillion wireless transactions per year for top companies in telecommunications, Internet, cable and broadband services, technology and financial services.
Convergys operates nearly 70 customer contact, service and data centres, with approximately 70,000 employees, worldwide. The Minister described the deal as a “quality investment” for Jamaica.
“We are confident that it will offer Jamaicans new employment and career opportunities in an industry with a bright future in Jamaica,” he observed.
Convergys cited Jamaica as an ideal location for BPO providers supporting clients in the United States, Europe, and other neighboring Caribbean countries, because of the similar time zones. The time zone varies from zero to three hours for North America and from five to six hours for Europe.
“They also remarked about Montego Bay’s status as a top tourist destination, and the strong customer service orientation of the available talent in the second city and western Jamaica,” he stated.
He said that in addition, Convergys has expressed confidence in Jamaica’s “large educated English-speaking workforce of high school and college graduates, cultural and physical proximity to the United States and Europe, and the Government’s commitment to ongoing investments in its educational, communications, transportation, and facilities infrastructure."
Government policy provides for targeted incentives to support strategic development sectors, such as the ICT Outsourcing Industry. Minister Tufton explained that, “In addition, the Government offers first rate investment facilitation services, through JAMPRO working with a number of agencies across Government, to make the process of establishment and operations uncomplicated and convenient."
He commended JAMPRO and the HEART Trust/NTA, who “in the specific case of this investment, collaborated to provide the necessary support to Convergys in order to secure the investment."
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter