Sat | Aug 24, 2019

Gov't takes on $2b IDB loan to develop high-skilled workforce

Published:Sunday | January 27, 2019 | 4:10 PM

The government will be using a near $2 billion loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to finance the training of Jamaicans for high-skilled jobs.

The contract for the loan, valued at US$15 million, was signed on Friday and is repayable over 24 years. The interest rate was not disclosed.

The funds will be channelled through the Global Services Sector Project (GSS), which is the vehicle being used by the government to develop a high-skilled workforce that will enable Jamaica to take advantage of high-value jobs in the global marketplace.

The Ministry of Finance explained that the GSS project is comprised of two main components. The first component seeks to improve the skills development system to provide the GSS with better skilled workers, particularly, in higher value-added segments. The implementing entities for this component are HEART/NTA; the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica.

The finance ministry explained further that the second component, for which JAMPRO is the executing agency, will attempt to strengthen Jamaica’s institutional capacity to increase investment and promote exports in the global services sector. It is expected that Jamaica’s capacity to attract investment and increase exports in high-valued segments will be significantly enhanced.

According to Finance Minister Nigel Clarke, “the Government of Jamaica is particularly committed to expanding and deepening human capacity development as we seek to increase Jamaica’s institutional capacity to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and increase exports.”  

Clarke noted that as the market for global services continues to expand, Jamaica must leverage its strategic assets - location, people, and language – to not only develop the Business Processing Outsourcing Sector, but to create opportunities for additional skill levels to take advantage of other segments of the global services sector.   

“The GSS project demonstrates the growth of the Global Services Sector (Global Services) in Jamaica, particularly in higher-value added segments – Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) and Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (KPO),” he said.

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