Jamaica


JamaicaCentrally located in the western Caribbean, Jamaica is an important gateway to established trade routes between North and South America, Africa, and Europe, with connectivity to the Eastern Hemisphere. The third largest Anglophone country in the Americas, Jamaica is 236 km (146 miles) long and 82 km (51 miles) wide. Its majestic Blue Mountain range rises to misty heights of 7,402 feet, and the cultivation of its world acclaimed coffee is facilitated by the rich, moist, soil and cool mountain climate. Vast, sweeping plains and verdant valleys populated with amazing varieties of colourful flora add rich variety to this island's amazing topography.


Beautiful stretches of sandy beaches lapped by the blue Caribbean Sea; cool, clear rivers perfect for rafting, swimming and fishing; mysterious caves furnished with picturesque stalactites and stalagmites; and exhilarating, cascading waterfalls are a few of the features that give Jamaica its unique appeal.


Jamaica boasts an inviting tropical climate, with an annual average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius or 81 degrees Fahrenheit, with cooler temperatures in its mountainous areas. Jamaica's rainy months are usually May, June, September and October, and tropical storms and hurricanes can occur any time between July and November.


The People


Jamaica comprises the second biggest market in the Caribbean Community and its distinct personality has been flavoured by Taino, African, Indian, Chinese, British and other cultural influences over the years, and is steeped in a rich historical background - a fact which makes its national motto "Out of Many One People" so representative.


Jamaicans are world-renowned for their strong business acumen and warm, enterprising spirit. The world rocks to the vibration of our home-grown reggae music which is a medley of African and Caribbean music, rhythm and blues, and other international sounds and strains. With trail blazing athletes like the indomitable Usain Bolt, talented actors, models and artistes who have charmed international audiences, Jamaica breathes charisma and the world cannot help but be magnetized.


Though the island has an educated and skilled English-speaking workforce, most of the population speaks an interesting dialect, patois (pronounced patwah), which is based on a mixture of African, Amerindian, English, Spanish, and French languages. It has a population of approximately 2.7 million people.



The Economy


Jamaica operates as a mixed, free-market economy with state enterprises as well as private sector businesses. Sectors poised for rapid development include agriculture, mining, the creative industries, manufacturing, tourism and information communication technology (ICT).


Jamaicas traditional agricultural industries include sugar, banana and coffee, and agricultural exports have generated some US$100mn per annum for the island over the last five years. Opportunities exist in the areas of biotechnology, aquaculture, nutraceutical production, and ornamental horticulture, and the agricultural sector contributes 5.6% to the Jamaican economy and employs over 18% of the workforce.


In the mining sector, opportunities exist in the areas of bauxite, limestone, marble, gravel, sand, gypsum, marl, dolomite, clay, whiting, silica, and sand, with bauxite being one of the most viable minerals extracted.


Jamaica's creative industries encompass the recording industry, music and theatre production, the motion picture industry, music publishing, and fashion and design, among others, and our creative assets are recognized as generators for economic growth with much potential for job creation and export earnings.


Jamaica's manufacturing sector is diverse and modern. Products encapsulated under this sector's activities are: beverages, processed foods, chemicals, plastics, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and apparel. The island also produces spices and condiments, canned ackee and callaloo, as well as natural juices, soft drinks, beer, wines, spirits, and liqueurs. With large Diaspora communities around the world, demand for local products is growing.


Tourism continues to be one of our fastest growing and most profitable sectors. Jamaica is strategically located on shipping lanes to major trade and tourism destinations, and the island reigns as one of the world's leading cruise destinations with its beautiful scenery and vibrant culture. There are many exciting opportunities in the areas of attraction development, five-star and boutique resort accommodation development, and health and wellness tourism.


The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector currently focuses on telecommunications, software development, and the enabled/shared services, which include contact centres and business process outsourcing (BPO). With excellent mobile telephony services, international voice and data services, and fibre optic capability, the sector is being expanded to include ICT parks and offshore educational facilities.


Jamaica is a leading member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which promotes the integration of economies of member states through the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Jamaica's attractiveness as an investment location has been boosted by the recently signed Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and CARIFORUM, which has potential to accelerate trade in several areas between both parties.



Port Infrastructure


The island is expanding its port facilities, chief of which is the Port of Kingston. The port is just 32 miles from the trade routes that pass through the Panama Canal. In a short period of time, the Port of Kingston has rapidly expanded to double capacity to about 3.2 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) as it moves quickly up the ranks of the world's leading ports in time for the expansion and widening of the Panama Canal in a few years' time. The next phase of its expansion will move its capacity to 5 million TEU's, allowing it to reach the status of a world mega-transshipment hub. In our tourism capital, Montego Bay, the cruise ship pier is being expanded to handle 3 Ultra Voyager class cruise ships, while simultaneously providing tendering of a 4th vessel and other commercial vessels.



Transportation Networks and Airports


Highway 2000 is one of the newest and most efficient road and highway networks in the region. It facilitates safe, speedy and cost-effective ground transportation as well as the opening up of new areas for investment and development. The highway is a four to six lane controlled-access, tolled motorway with fully grade-separated interchanges and intersections built according to modern international standards. The North Coast Highway is now complete, giving all persons a quick route along this most picturesque stretch of coastline. Construction is significantly advanced on the South Coast Highway as well as on a North-South highway that will dissect the island geographically, creating easier access to all areas of the island. This major road and highway network has been a catalyst for increased economic activity, providing direct and efficient links between the major economic centres of the island.


Jamaica has two international airports - the Norman Manley International Airport located in the bustling capital city, Kingston, and the Sangster International Airport in the tourist centre and second island capital, Montego Bay. Both airports have undergone improvements through programmes aimed at facilitating increased passenger traffic and offering more competitive services and amenities.



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