By Nickieta Sterling
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Jamaica is being strategically positioned as a globally competitive logistics hub, and an efficient investment destination, says prime minister, Andrew Holness.
According to the prime minister, there is a new wave of US multibillion-dollar investments projected for the Caribbean region, which will create myriad opportunities for economic growth and development.
Addressing the Eighth Annual International Conference and Exhibition (AICE), at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James, on Tuesday (June 14), Holness noted that the country, by way of investments in several key sectors, is on course to capitalise on the projected investments.
“I met with most of the world leaders of this hemisphere and heard from the Inter-American Development Bank how nearshoring and friendly shoring will attract more than US$78 billion of new investments and exports, which will create more than four million direct jobs,” said the prime minister.
“Jamaica is ideally located at the intersection of the east-west and north-south trade routes. Kingston Harbour is the seventh-largest natural harbour in the world. Our mission is to leverage these natural assets and position Jamaica as the fourth global logistics mode, comparable to Singapore, Dubai and Rotterdam,” he added.
The prime minister said significant investments have been made to improve the transportation and telecommunications infrastructure.
“We have made significant investments and continue to make transformational changes in our human capital development, equipping our workforce for industry needs and now strategically positioning Jamaica as a globally competitive and efficient investment destination,” Holness noted.
He cited the Kingston Logistics Park and the Flagship Caymanas Special Economic Zone in St Catherine as key projects that will further advance Jamaica’s global competitiveness.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said countries can use special economic zones (SEZs) or free zones as drivers to recover from the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and other global crises.
“There is a natural thrust towards free zones. I would say free zones are at this point critical to the future growth of the world economy. This is the time for free zones to work together to leverage these conditions. And this conference is about working together to take advantage of the new global developments, which are creating opportunities,” Holness argued.
Representatives from 60 countries are attending the five-day conference from June 13 to 17, which features world-class speakers, senior policymakers, academics, multilateral organisations and global business leaders.
SEZs are areas within a country that are created to facilitate rapid economic growth, by leveraging tax incentives as a way of attracting foreign investments and technological advancement.