The World Bank Group has pledged to help Jamaica identify sources of funding within the Group, for specific aspects of the proposed Global Logistics Hub initiative. Speaking at a press briefing in Kingston this morning, World Bank Group representative to Jamaica, Giorgio Valentini described the logistics hub initiative as ‘transformational’ and said in addition to shipping and trade, all other areas of the Jamaican economy will benefit. “It is important to emphasize that the hub is not just about the port, it involves many moving parts and will significantly enhance Jamaica’s potential for growth”, Valentini stressed.
He noted that thousands of jobs will have to be created to support the logistics hub and suggested that Jamaica begin to look towards the training of human capital to fuel the needs of the hub and also strategically for export under special agreement with large markets like the United States and Canada. This ‘export’ of Jamaican labour, he emphasized, can enhance the island’s comparative advantages of having the perfect geographical location, and a strong English speaking work force. Thousands of jobs are expected to be created in areas such as information technology, logistics management and transport.
Jamaica’s proposal to become the fourth node in the global logistics chain is the centerpiece of the Government’s growth strategy and is expected to transform the Jamaican economy, create jobs and position Jamaica on the global value chain. The other three global logistics hubs are Rotterdam, Singapore and Dubai. The planned expansion and development of the Panama Canal scheduled for a 2015 completion are expected to result in increased trans-shipment traffic throughout the region, presenting significant economic opportunities for Jamaica.
In thanking the World Bank Group for its support, Minister Hylton said the endorsement brings the vision one step closer to reality. The Minister will lead a mission to Washington in February to continue talks with the World Bank Group on additional areas of collaboration and support. Minister Hylton also has a number of meetings scheduled with international investors who have expressed an interest in the Logistics Hub Initiative, and will also meet with private sector groups. The Ministry will embark on a public education campaign to keep the country apprised of how the public and private sectors can collaborate to transform Jamaica through the Global Logistics hub initiative.
A 16 person delegation from the World Bank group which left Jamaica this morning has already started to provide technical assistance in the development of the master plan for the logistics hub. The pillars of the master plan which should be unveiled by June 30 will feed into the final version of Jamaica’s Country Partnership Strategy. This document will govern the relationship between the island and the World Bank for the period 2014-17.