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Jamaica improves business ranking on Forbes list

Published:Friday | January 29, 2016 | 1:00 AMSteven Jackson
Minister of Industry Investment & Commerce, Anthony Hylton.

Jamaica moved up five slots on the Forbes 'Best Countries for Business' list.

The newly released report shows Jamaica moving from 64 to 59, which equated to the top country in the Caribbean for business in 2015, and third in wider Latin America and the Caribbean.

Among the 144 countries reviewed, Denmark led the world, followed closely by other Scandinavian nations.

"This is welcome news, but in many ways, it is not a surprise," Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton commented in a statement.

"Indeed, the Forbes ranking is further validation that the macro and micro policies and programmes of the Government are steering the Jamaican economy in the right direction," he said.

The latest rankings follow strong results in the major global business indices. In the 2016 Doing Business Report, Jamaica was named among the 10 most improved economies for the ease of doing business.

Hylton noted that the latest ranking is an indication of the hard work carried out during the past four years by his ministry, other MDAs - ministries, departments and agencies - and the National Competitiveness Council.

In the 2014-15 fiscal year, the ministry through Jampro, the marketing arm of the Government, facilitated $27.1 billion in capital expenditure, the creation of 8,261 jobs and US$225.5 million in export sales.

Hylton acknowledged that improvements need to continue.

"From here on, there must be no turning back. We must continue the momentum and focus on those areas that still need to be improved," he said in the release.

Forbes indicated that the very bottom of its list features a number of emerging markets restrained by high levels of corruption and what it termed limited "freedom".

Chad replaced Guinea in last place, a spot Guinea held for three straight years. Haiti scored in the bottom five.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com