The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) is forecasting expansion in business and investment opportunities for the country as a result of increased interest and scouting of key sectors by potential investors.
These include agri-business, business process outsourcing (BPO), energy, logistics, manufacturing and tourism, which were the focus areas at the recently held Jamaica Investment Forum (JIF).
President of the agency, Diane Edwards, who spoke with JIS News, said that Jamaica continues to attract significant interest and attention as a tourist destination, which is evident in the various projects that have been recently completed, others under way and initiatives in the pipeline.
She noted that there is heightened interest from investors in Mexico and Spain, who are looking for sites and locations for new hotels or to expand existing properties.
She said that companies from the Middle and Far East are also looking at hotel opportunities here in Jamaica, so “tourism is thriving and alive and attracting new interests”.
Turning to BPO, the JAMPRO president noted that the industry will see even further growth, with major expansions and initiatives in progress.
BPO has evolved into a robust sector that continues to drive growth and job creation, with some 26,000 persons currently employed.
“Our future in outsourcing is pretty bright. We are embarking on a huge upskilling programme for our young people in the skills that are necessary, not just customer service and technology support but all types of digitally based services, such as healthcare, accounting, finance, legal. There are a range of services in the outsourcing arena that we have not touched,” Ms. Edwards pointed out.
JAMPRO is currently promoting Jamaica as a destination for outsourcing investments through partnerships with local and international organisations, international BPO conferences and targeted inward missions.
“We have been marketing Jamaica as an outsourcing centre for the past eight years, and we have been successful in building the whole outsourcing value proposition for Jamaica,” Ms. Edwards told JIS News.
On the matter of energy, she informed that the Government is developing an integrated resource plan from which a slew of investment projects will be created in renewables.
“In terms of logistics, we saw a lot of interest at JIF in this area because the message that Jamaica is the business hub of the Caribbean is getting through, so we are seeing investors coming in looking for those opportunities, which is a plus for the special economic zones,” Ms. Edwards informed.
Other investments in this sector include bunkering projects being executed by West Indies Petroleum; Kingston Wharves Limited’s thrust in warehousing and logistics; and initiatives by the Government such as implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), which has significantly improved the effectiveness and efficiency of operations within the customs and port communities.
The JAMPRO president cited agriculture as “another huge opportunity” noting that “what we are seeing are big local and foreign companies now interested in looking at agriculture”.
“We are in big discussion with some companies out of the Middle and Far East for some big agricultural projects in the very near future,” she disclosed.
Ms. Edwards told JIS News that there is also interest in manufacturing and assembly. She informed that JAMPRO has employed a broker/consultant who will assist in attracting investments from the USA, Canada and Europe for this sector.
“The whole opportunity in manufacturing is pretty broad… . We have one project that we are talking about regarding recycling of plastic bottles, and although we haven’t got into this area sufficiently in Jamaica, people are starting to think about it,” she expressed.
Ms. Edwards pointed out that there is also renewed interest in bauxite and alumina, while consideration must be given to investment opportunities in limestone, which remains underutilised.