Investing or doing Business in Jamaica?

Investing or doing Business in Jamaica?

GENERAL OVERVIEW

Known for its natural beauty, resource endowments, tropical climate, lively culture, and phenomenal sporting successes, Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean and the third largest in the region. The country also has the advantage of relative political stability though it has not been spared from the effects of the current economic downturn in other parts of the world. It also has social and economic problems that pre-date this.

During this decade though, Jamaica has liberalized much of its economy, reduced the proportion of the population living below the poverty line, and expanded in particular its tourism, financial services and telecommunications industries.

Jamaica has set as its goal the achievement of developed country status by 2030. This is highlighted in a long term national development plan dubbed Vision 2030 – “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.

The country has been successful in reaching some important standards that create a favourable business climate. For instance, according to Porter and Schwab’s Global Competitiveness Report 2008-2009 (2008), Jamaica is in the efficiency-driven stage of development having attained levels of Higher Education and Training, Goods Market Efficiency, Labour Market Efficiency, Market Size, Financial Market and Sophistication, and Technological Readiness that are necessary to place it in this category.

Regulatory as well as legislative developments have been integral to the country’s Financial Market and Sophistication, and Technological Readiness mentioned above. Over the past decade the financial sector has seen the strengthening of the regulatory institutions and framework some of which we highlight below.

A perusal of the World Bank/IFC Doing Business 2009 study highlights that Jamaica is ranked 63 of 181 economies in terms of the 'ease of doing business'. Significantly, Jamaica was ranked 11 and 22 for starting and closing a business, respectively.

Jamaica is open for business and seeks to encourage and grow direct foreign investment into the country. We set out herein some essential information about Jamaica and doing business on our Island.