Jamaica’s reputation as one of the premier global destinations for investment continues to rise, as discerning entrepreneurs increasingly seek to capitalise on the exciting business opportunities that abound in the country. Beyond its vibrant culture and natural beauty, Jamaica’s value proposition is underpinned by its business-friendly environment, educated and trained workforce, stable democracy, solid infrastructure and strategic location.
Ideally located in the western Caribbean, Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the region and the third largest overall. Abundantly endowed with natural resources such as rich mineral deposits of bauxite, high quality limestone and marble, the country covers a total area of 10,991 sq km (4,244 sq miles). It is grouped among the islands of the Greater Antilles, and enjoys the distinction of being the third largest English speaking nation in the Western Hemisphere, behind the United States and Canada.
Jamaica’s proximity to major markets contributes to its overall attractiveness as an investment destination, as it is only 90 minutes from Miami, three hours and 40 minutes from New York, four hours from Toronto and 10 hours from London by air. The island’s strategic location is further reinforced by the fact that it is within a four-hour flight radius of over half a billion of the world’s population.
Situated at the nexus of the major air and sea routes into the Caribbean Basin, Jamaica provides transnational corporations (TNCs) with a solid investment base for their Caribbean operations, which will allow them to seamlessly tap into the US$19-trillion' North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) markets as well as the rest of the Western Hemisphere and beyond.
In the capital city of Kingston, which is set against the backdrop of the majestic Blue Mountains, investors will discover a cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture that is globally connected and perfectly primed for business. It is home to the world’s seventh largest natural harbour – Kingston Harbour - which enjoys significant maritime traffic due to its ease of access to the Panama Canal shipping lanes. Leveraging its port and logistics capacity and proximity to key markets, Jamaica is excellently positioned to become a major multi-modal logistics hub in the region.
Montego Bay, situated on the northwest coast of the island in the parish of St. James, is the second largest city in Jamaica. It thrives in the dual role of regional tourism Mecca and hub for technology and business process outsourcing (BPO). The island also has several other urban centres spread across different parishes that are ripe for commercial activity.
Jamaica has been rebounding well from the adverse impact of the global economic crisis that occurred between 2007 and 2009. In 2013, nominal GDP stood at US$14.1 billion, with the nominal outturn in total GDP representing an increase of 8.2% compared with the previous year. The Jamaican economy also experienced growth of 0.2% for the first half of the 2014/2015 fiscal year (April to September), and a growth rate of 0.5% is projected for the remainder of the fiscal year. Consequently, real GDP for the current fiscal year 2014/2015 is expected to increase by 0.3%.
Per capital income also registered an increase during the comparative 4-year period, moving from US$4,491 in 2009 to US$5,228 in 2013 . The country has also benefited from the easing down of the weighted average domestic deposit interest rate, which has been declining since 2009. Jamaica’s net international reserves have grown over 40%, and at the end of March 2014, stood at US$1.3 B. This has placed the country in a better position to withstand unforeseen shocks in the external economy.
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