Foreign Direct Investments continue to grow
JAMAICA RECORDED US$567 million in foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2013, a 16 per cent increase over the previous year.
Diane Edwards, president of JAMPRO, in the entity's 2014 annual report, said the increase is a result of a refocused JAMPRO, "which is asserting its catalytic role in stimulating trade and investment projects and business and advocating for a more enabling business environment, and in so doing, improve its relevance to local and international investors".
FDI has fallen from US$1.4 billion in 2008 to a low of US$218 million in 2011.
JAMPRO said for the financial year 2013-2014, it recorded almost J$19 billion in investments from foreign and local sources - approximately 90 per cent of the investments recorded for the previous two years combined.
The trade and investment facilitation body said this was largely led by a strong recovery in tourism, in which JAMPRO clients registered more than $13 billion in investments.
Edwards said the organisation facilitated 6,088 jobs in 2013-14 and claimed that 1,574 of those jobs are permanent.
"JAMPRO is about creating wealth through trade and investment for Jamaica's economic growth and development. We see ourselves as the first vital link in the chain reaction to develop successful businesses that are fully integrated over time, into the global economy," Edwards said.
"We will do this by influencing the enactment of enabling legislation, packaging investment and business projects, facilitating win-win business relationships, linking exporters to new markets, enhancing the business environment and stimulating new policy development," she added.
The upward trend in FDI was attributable to significant investments during the year in the tourism and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors.
In 2013, the Jamaica BPO industry generated 2,500 jobs, welcoming new players such as Medullan and Healthcare EQ, against the background of ongoing business expansion of existing players such as Hinduja, Xerox, Teleperformance, Island Outsourcers and ADS Global.
Additionally, local investors have also been making significant investments in the creation of more commercial space to support the expansion and growth in the sector. Industry Minister Anthony Hylton last week Tuesday tabled a five-year national strategy for the development of Jamaica's outsourcing industry, in Parliament.
The initiatives contained in the strategy are designed to fast-track growth in the industry and lead to the creation of a minimum of 18,000 additional jobs over the next five years.
"While Jamaica has been registering steady growth and success in the BPO industry, the industry's growth potential in the country has been constrained by a lack of readily available and suitable space to house these companies," the paper said.
"The objective of crafting a national strategy is to create a holistic approach to developing the outsourcing sector, integrating all aspects of the ecosystem required for the expansion of the industry, such as policy, infrastructure, training and marketing, by leveraging the resources and expertise of all relevant industry stakeholders. The key economic impact of the national strategy will be to increase job creation in the sector from 14,000 to 32,000 by March 2020," it added.