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Sports ranks as one of the highest contributors to Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), based on recent analyses of the composition of the GDP, former Prime Minister Edward Seaga has said.
This, he says, is as a result of the inter-linkages which the sector has, and the fact that it is linked to and supported by domestic facilities and provisions.
Speaking at the official opening of the International Congress on Sports for Peace and Development at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Monday (September 15), Mr. Seaga noted that, in the case of some of the other sectors, such as tourism, only 30 per cent of their earnings are absorbed in the country, while the other 70 per cent, goes back out to pay for imports of goods and services. He said that, as the sporting sector’s linkages are primarily domestic, its contribution to GDP is very high.
Mr. Seaga, who is also Chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), said that sports is at the hub of the country’s “interacting web”, in which many other areas of activity, that are economic, social, and cultural, are linked. He informed that some of the areas include: the provision of financing; facilities and equipment; publicity, and medical and nutritional services, among others. In this regard, he said the sector has been able to provide employment for a significant number of persons.
“In Jamaica, we are very happy with the extent to which sports has provided employment. The data tells us that 22,474 people are employed in sports and sports-related activities in Jamaica; and that is not a small number of people, in our context…and their wages total some US$700 million; that again is not a small figure in our context,” he outlined.
Mr. Seaga described sports as an “international language”, which, he said, is spoken and understood by all nations and races globally.
“No matter what language you speak, in terms of your own local communication, you know the rules of football, you know the rules of other games that other people know, though they speak other languages. Sports breaks down all borders, borders of gender, borders of inequity, and borders of discrimination. Sports is a stabiliser sports is not just a lightweight, recreational, and exciting endeavour,” he stated.
The Congress, which is being held in Kingston from September 13 to 16, is being jointly staged by the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth, and Sports and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Sports Ministers from CARICOM and experts from Cuba, Spain, Kenya, Cameroon, the United Kingdom, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Inter-governmental Committee on Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS), are taking part in the event.
They will engage in debates and share information and expertise, with the aim of ensuring that all participating countries leave with the skills and knowledge, to make sport a significant contributor to peace and development.