FDI prospects positive for Jamaica

She noted that while Jamaica, like most Small Island Developing States (SIDS), has been adversely affected by the global financial crisis, which has reduced FDIs flows, there has been a resurgence of interest in a number of sectors, including tourism, mining, and information communications technology (ICT).

The JAMPRO president, who was addressing the launch of the World Investment Report 2011 on Tuesday, said that plans were well advanced for the establishment of an international services sector in Jamaica, as well as the restart of bauxite mining.

Meanwhile, she disclosed that JAMPRO was prioritising manufacturing, tourism and ICT, as part of its investment strategy for Jamaica. The focus on ICT, she said, is to boost job creation.

“Investments in the ICT sector, especially in the call centre BPO (business process outsourcing) operations, is not so much predicated on actual capital investment figures, it is strongly predicated on jobs and it’s an area of focus for the organisation going forward,” she stated.

In terms of manufacturing, she said the emphasis is on the creation of a new unit to concentrate chiefly on developing and expanding the sector.

The World Investment Report indicated that Jamaica received an estimated US$201 million in FDI in 2010. The amount, which is significantly less than the inflows of US$541 million in 2009 and US$1.4 billion in 2008, is the lowest in many years.

“A significant portion of investments in Jamaica in prior years has been in the mining sector, however the sector has not been performing so well in recent years and that has also affected Jamaica’s overall performance,” Bennett-Templer explained.

She noted that, while global investment trends have shown a moderate increase in FDI flows in 2009, following on prior years of decline, they were still below pre-crisis levels.

The report forecasts that, barring any economic shocks, FDI flows will recover to pre-crisis levels over the next two years.

Bennett-Templer said that for the very first time, developing and transition economies were major recipients of FDI, with global investment trends showing that half of the top 20 recipients of FDIs are from that group. The top 10 developing and transition destinations for FDIs accounted for 32 per cent of total investment flows.

The World Investment Report 2011, which is a publication of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), focuses on trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) worldwide, at the regional and country levels and emerging measures to improve its contribution to development.

The report provides an analysis of the trends in FDI during the previous year, with special emphasis on the development implications; ranking of the largest transnational corporations in the world; in-depth analysis of selected topics related to FDI; policy analysis and recommendations; and statistical annex with data on FDI flows and stocks for 196 economies.

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