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Growth & Jobs | Jamaica making great economic strides – Shaw

Published:Tuesday | May 21, 2019 | 12:00 AM
From left: Honorary Consul of Jamaica in Philadelphia, Christopher Chaplin; Diane Edwards, president of JAMPRO; Audley Shaw, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, and Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States of America, Audrey Marks, pose for a picture after the Doing Business in Jamaica luncheon that was hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently.
Audley Shaw, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, speaks to attendees at the Doing Business in Jamaica luncheon that was hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently.

Audley Shaw, minister of ­industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, said Jamaica is making significant progress in the improvement of the island’s economy.

Shaw made the comments recently at the Doing Business in Jamaica luncheon hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently.

Attended by investors, members of the Jamaican diaspora and Philadelphia city government stakeholders, the luncheon was hosted by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) to promote the island’s key investment and export opportunities, and to highlight Jamaica’s ­progress in its economic development.

Close to 100 business people converged at the forum with an interest to invest in construction, energy, logistics, telecommunications, legal and medical opportunities in Jamaica. The Doing Business in Jamaica luncheon was held ­during the annual Penn Relays, where some 50,000 Jamaicans went to the city for the games. Philadelphia is home to the sixth-largest ­population of Jamaicans in the United States.

Audrey Marks, Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, and Christopher Chaplin, the new Jamaican honorary consul in Philadelphia, encouraged attendees to invest in Jamaica and to be a part of Jamaica’s development journey.

Jamaica making vast improvements

As he discussed investment ­opportunities in the island, Shaw told the audience that Jamaica is making vast improvements, and that now is the ideal time for international investors to do business in the country. He said, “The unemployment rate is now eight per cent, we have created at least 100,000 new jobs over the past three years, and we are spending billions of dollars on ­infrastructure, investment, and other major ­projects, and the work continues.”

The minister told the audience that agriculture was the sector to be closely examined by investors, as there is much arable land available in Jamaica and the cultivation of food could be not only for export, but to support the ­booming tourist industry, an official all-island school-feeding programme, and to provide food for the CARICOM market. He also stressed that there is a great demand for exotic fresh produce, which Jamaica is well placed to cultivate.

Diane Edwards, president of JAMPRO, shared the minister’s sentiments, and said Jamaica’s improving ­business ­environment would provide the atmosphere for international and local investors to excel with their ventures. Ms Edwards said, “Over the past five to six years, the Government of Jamaica has embarked on numerous ­initiatives geared towards more effective ­management of the economy and the robust expansion of private-sector ­industries. With government support, expansion of the private sector, and an improving business climate, we believe that there has been no better time than now to invest in Jamaica. Jamaica is open for business, and JAMPRO is ready to ­support local and international investors.”

The event was held in ­collaboration with other partners, including Team Jamaica Bickle, University of Pennsylvania, World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, Global Philadelphia, and sponsored by the Jamaica Tourist Board and Philadelphia International Medicine.