Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging members of the Jamaican Diaspora to take advantage of the myriad opportunities that exist for investment in the country.
“There are so many areas in which we would welcome the investment of the diaspora. It is not just about sending your remittances. There are real business opportunities in Jamaica that we encourage you to take advantage of,” he said.
Mr. Holness was addressing a Prime Ministerial town hall meeting on June 16, held as part of a virtual Jamaica Diaspora Sustainability Symposium.
He argued that Jamaica’s economy, which is “evolving and… becoming a true representation of a market economy”, is ideal for investment, pointing out that “we have a free exchange rate, [and] we have strong processes for open and competitive tendering and procurement”.
The Prime Minister noted, for example, that one way the Jamaican Diaspora can invest in the country is to “own a piece of Jamaica” with the purchase of homes, adding that many members of the diaspora have been doing that, which augurs well for the economy.
“That helped the growth of the construction sector, which has been the most resilient sector of the economy during the (COVID-19) pandemic and we want to keep the construction sector going. So, we encourage members of the diaspora to keep on investing in real estate and housing developments in Jamaica,” he said.
In addition, Mr. Holness said the Government is also actively trying to create an ownership economy where the Administration is positioning assets that it owns to be owned by private citizens, “and we would definitely love and, indeed, prefer to have our own Jamaicans seeing Jamaica as a risk worth taking and investing in Jamaica”.
The Prime Minister pointed out that tourism, which is “another strong mainstay of the economy” that was badly hit by the pandemic, and is now recovering, is another key area for investment by the diaspora.
“We are seeing massive interest, including from Jamaicans who are serious about making investments in this area, and we would invite members of our diaspora… to set up a small hotel or set up a large resort development… to consider coming home and making these investments,” he encouraged.
The Prime Minister further noted that the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, which is another “very strong and resilient sector” that has done very well during the pandemic, “is an area which members of the diaspora should take a very close look to make investments”.
He further encouraged members of the diaspora “who have new and innovative business proposals to come to Jamaica and take advantage of fiscal benefits that exist within the context of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) arrangement,” an area of logistics that also remains strong.
The Prime Minister added that many opportunities are now emerging in cyberspace, for example, cyber defence and cybersecurity, for the development of software and coding. “So, we want to encourage Jamaicans in the diaspora who have that skill to take a very serious look at investing in these areas in Jamaica,” he said.
Turning to the area of civil infrastructure, which includes roads, sewerage, water and telecommunications, Mr. Holness informed that the options and opportunities for participating in that aspect are being developed that will allow the diaspora to take part.
“One such opportunity was offered last year with the divestment of the Trans Jamaica Highway, which was probably one of the largest infrastructure divestment projects that have been done within the English-speaking Caribbean. It’s a massive project and that opportunity is there for members of the diaspora to participate in,” he said.
Mr. Holness added that the Government “should be going to market very soon” with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), in which the Government owns 19 per cent.
“I encourage members of the diaspora who want to invest and participate to look out for that option for investment,” he said.
The two-day symposium is being held under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora – Stronger Together for a Sustainable Future’.
It is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade with support from various partners.