Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Holness eyes diaspora investment - Foreign ministry to maximise on upcoming conference

Published:Thursday | April 6, 2017 | 4:00 AMSyranno Baines
From left: Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Minister of Sports Olivia Grange; Professor Neville Ying Chair, programme and content subcommittee executive director, Jamaica Diaspora Institute; Leon Mitchell, assistant general manager of the Jamaica National Building Society; Don Wehby, Group chief executive officer, GraceKennedy; and Courtney Campbell, president and chief executive officer, Victoria Mutual Group, at the official launch of Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said that with three million Jamaicans residing in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Jamaica's gross domestic product could easily double overnight if seamless ways of integrating the economic power of the diaspora into the local economy were found.

"We will be reshaping the Jamaican Diaspora Foundation and Institute into the 'Global Connect Jamaica', which will be a public-private partnership trust, geared towards encouraging the Jamaican Diaspora to invest in Jamaica," said Holness at the launch of the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew on Tuesday.

"Among the objectives of the Global Connect Jamaica are to connect Jamaicans in the diaspora as well as to promote brand Jamaica globally. It will also seek to pair leading executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals in the diaspora with their counterparts in Jamaica with a view to expanding business opportunities."

 

KEY AREAS OF INVOLVEMENT

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith listed education, health, crime prevention, and community development as the key areas in which the diaspora has consistently engaged to better elevate the country's economic and social standing.

"The building of a sustainable, synergistic, and symbiotic partnership with the diaspora is a fundamental component of our foreign policy and is at the very heart of the Government's economic growth agenda," she stated.

"If together we use it well, the biennial conference provides an excellent platform for Jamaica and its diaspora to discuss common goals and to put in motion concrete and pragmatic action plans based on feasible outcomes and manageable timelines."

The seventh diaspora conference is to be held in Kingston from July 23 to 26 under the theme 'Partnering for Growth'.

Legacy partners GraceKennedy, Jamaica National Group, J. Wray & Nephew, and Victoria Mutual have each contributed $2.75 million towards the staging, which is strategically planned to coincide with Jamaica's 55th year of independence.

The four-day event will feature the Governor General's Achieve-ment Awards, a youth forum, and a marketplace exposition to display the best of Jamaica's culture and entertainment.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com