More than 120 high net-worth investors from 16 countries, including the United States of America (USA), Russia, China and Japan, are at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James for the inaugural Jamaica Investment Forum, which got underway this morning.
The turnout is in keeping with an indication from Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) at a JIS Think Tank last week, that there was strong interest from investors in Jamaica.
Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, said the event “represents a win-win opportunity for you, the investor and the people of Jamaica”.
"Jamaica is ready for your investment and open for business,” she declared. The Prime Minister said that the Government is willing to demonstrate flexibility, stating that for persons, who wish to make a mega investment, “I make myself available to meet with you now!” This invitation was met with thunderous applause from the investors gathered.
Set against the thematic backdrop: ‘Invest in Jamaica: Invest in a Global Brand’the forum, spearheaded by JAMPRO, a division of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, aims to provide a unique opportunity for investors to “see, touch and feel” Jamaica as an investment destination.
In his address to the gathering of more than 400 delegates, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, highlighted the country’s endowments, chief of which is location.
“Our geographical location and proximity to the two major markets of the Western Hemisphere – North and South America – is a huge advantage…setting up business in Jamaica makes good business sense,” he asserted.
People advantage is another key reason to invest in the island, Minister Hylton noted, stating that as the third largest English-speaking country in this hemisphere, Jamaica has a strong workforce that is educated, skilled, trainable and competitively priced.
“In deciding to invest your money here, you are dealing with a constitutional democracy,” he pointed out, “where, notwithstanding change of governments, contractual obligations are always honoured and the rule of law respected."
The Forum continues until March 2, with breakout sessions on the topics: ‘Investment Climate’; ‘Jamaica the hub of the Caribbean and gateway to the world’; ‘Invest in BPO and IT Export Services’; ‘Invest in Niche Manufacturing and Tourism’, while there will also be private meetings and site visits.
By Donna-Marie Rowe