December 13 – Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI) profiled some 105 Business Projects and facilitated nearly 300 business matchmaking sessions in the inaugural Opportunities Jamaica ’07 Business Conference and Expo at the Sunset Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios from November 28 – 29, 2007.
The project profiles were generally in the areas of attraction development, residential and commercial developments, entertainment centres, farming and agribusiness, alternative energy, Information Communications Technology and Software Development. Specific focus was placed on investor to business projects; implementer to business projects; buyer to supplier and technical advisor to businesses seeking assistance.
“The matchmaking process was one of the most important aspects of the two-day event, which we hope would lead to the concretization of these opportunities. It is also an indication of what we want to achieve through this medium,” said Lisa Bell, Executive Director of Trade and Business Development at Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI). “It will be the proof of the efforts of the Agency,” she added.
The purpose of Opportunities Jamaica ’07 was clearly outlined by the President of the National Investment and Export Promotion Agency, Robert Gregory, “the event represents a portal through which companies can truly connect with the flow of Foreign Direct Investment into the country, and capitalize on the many new and exciting opportunities that are opening up in the local economy, particularly in the Tourism, Mining, Agribusiness sectors and the Creative Industries.”
Jamaica recorded unprecedented flows of US$850 million in foreign direct investments (FDIs) in 2006. In addition, the Agency chalked up a number of other significant achievements:-
Global Growth Competitiveness Index
- Ranked 76 of 117 countries
- Ranked 45 on Technology Index
Business Competitiveness Index:
- Ranked 53 of 116 countries
- Ranked 54th for business sophistication and quality of national business environment
World Investment Report (WIR)
- Ranked 21st as Inward investment Location among 141 countries.
E-Government – In 2005
- Ranked 59th of 191 UN countries for government e-readiness and best in the Caribbean.
Opportunities Jamaica will be an annual event that will seek to promote linkages, clustering and competitiveness among local business entities with a view to increasing the “absorptive capacity” of the Jamaican Economy in the face of growing FDIs.
News Highlights Out of Opportunities Jamaica ‘07
Creative Industries Workshop and Showcase
Participants meeting in workshop for the Creative Industries Sector engaged in discussion surrounding issues of marketing and distribution, leveraging collateral material as well as intellectual property management.
The showcase focused on highlights from the visual arts, fashion and music sectors. Ivan Berry, CEO of the IB Entertainment was one of two overseas-based presenters for that sector; while Vivian Barclay of Warner Music presented options for marketing and distribution.
DBJ approves small loans for agriculture sector
A special loan facility has been established by the Development Bank of Jamaica that will give farmers registered with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA access of up to $5 million for viable projects.
Managing Director of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), Milverton Reynolds, said that the agency has formed partnerships with Scotia Bank and the National Insurance Fund (NIF), to provide assistance to small farmers.
He noted that these loans, which are channeled through the National People’s Co-operative Banks, range from as low as $100,000 up to $5 million and the applicable interest rate is 7.87 per cent per annum with a repayment period of up to seven years.
Mr. Reynolds also said that the assistance to the agricultural sector is part of a larger undertaking by the DBJ to partner with approved financial institutions to finance viable projects in strategic areas. He also noted that “as the premier development agency for Jamaica, the DBJ is extremely serious about nation building through development of synergies,” hence his involvement with JTI for ongoing collaborative efforts.