07 Nov, 2019
Jamaica has joined 28 other nations, including several Caribbean states, that have developed online investment guides (iGuides).
These facilities are repositories of information for local and foreign investors interested in doing business in the respective countries.
Work to develop the guides was led by local stakeholders, principally countries’ investment promotion agencies in several instances, in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) spearheaded development of the country’s iGuide, which also involved inputs from the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).
The information, which is hosted on UNCTAD’s website, can also be accessed on JAMPRO’s platform from any location globally.
It facilitates a comparison of Jamaica as an investment destination, alongside other countries globally.
The iGuide is intended to provide investors with information at their fingertips that will help them in their decisions to invest in Jamaica.
Among the focus areas are manufacturing, agri-business, energy, the creative industries, the knowledge sectors, mining, tourism, and the Logistics Hub Initiative (LHI) and the partner Special Economic Zone (SEZ) framework.
A foreign translation feature has also been incorporated to facilitate ease of communication.
The iGuide was formally launched and symbolically handed over recently to JAMPRO President, Diane Edwards, by UNCTAD Economist, Ian Richards, who spearheads the overall investment guide programme.
The agency will serve as the facility’s custodian and will be responsible for, among other things, keeping the site’s information up to date.
The presentation was made during a brief ceremony at JAMPRO’s head office in New Kingston.
Ms. Edwards, who is CAIPA’s Immediate Past President, said the iGuide is an important tool and welcome addition to investment promotion in Jamaica.
Noting that the local investment climate is “extremely positive”, she said the iGuide “is going to take that information out to the world in a form that is really using best practice”.
Ms. Edwards assured that as the country’s national investment and promotion agency, JAMPRO remains committed to improving the business environment.
“Our constant focus is on how do we make it easier for people to do business in Jamaica… . How do we make the business environment more open and how do we make businesses feel more welcome in Jamaica. All of that is important to us,” she said.
Ms. Edwards noted that JAMPRO serves as the Secretariat for the National Competitiveness Council, which manages Jamaica’s business environment reform agenda, intended to ensure that businesses feel the difference that this undertaking is going to make for them.
“Already we see that they are feeling it, because Jamaica recently jumped four places in the [World Bank’s] Doing Business Report, to number 71 out of 140 countries,” she added.
Ms. Edwards encouraged stakeholder interests to utilise the guide and disseminate it “as much as possible”.
“We think it has really good information. We want you to tell everyone about it… that it is a tool, not only for foreign businesses, but for local businesses to use to develop their business cases and present their projects,” she said.
For his part, Mr. Richards said UNCTAD’s aim and role in advancing the iGuide “is really to support the Government in implementing Vision 2030 Jamaica as part of the UN’s overall development assistance framework”.
This, he noted, is being done in tandem with the other UN and international organisations in Jamaica.
“We know that it has been a difficult time for the region, according to the UNCTAD data, in terms of attracting foreign direct investments. But for Jamaica, I think these are very exciting times,” he said.
Of note, Mr. Richards said, is the Logistics Hub Initiative and accompanying Special Economic Zones.
“We are very excited by that because, given all that Jamaica already has – a good business infrastructure, a supportive government, a good education system, good market access – this will provide spillovers, linkages and opportunities for many different sectors in Jamaica… particularly new sectors… and will also lead to more jobs, more wealth, and more development for the country. So, that’s very important for us,” he added.
The UNCTAD Executive said the organisation is “very happy” to be working with JAMPRO and other stakeholders, to attract and facilitate investment for the “new, exciting and promising sectors in Jamaica”.
Other Caribbean states that he said have developed investment guides are Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia.
“We will be launching one for Curaçao in November next, and early next year, we will be launching iGuides in Barbados and St. Kitts,” Mrs. Richards further informed.
The extent of the platform’s development also incorporates countries in Asia and Africa, among other locations.
This article was originally published on the Jamaica Information Service website