As Jamaica pursues its Vision 2030 development plan which will transform the island’s economy, the country’s gov’t continues to seek innovative investments that can accelerate economic growth. These investment projects will not only provide economic rewards, but will also be sustainable, create new avenues for development in communities, towns, and cities, and will lead to significant improvement in Jamaica’s overall business environment.
What steps is Jamaica taking to achieve the goals?
Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, noted that the gov’t has expended resources to foster an enabling environment for economic growth. “Our long term goal is for investment products and partnerships that are sustainable, that will energize our economy and drive positive change at all levels,” the Minister said.
“We consider innovative investments to be all about sustainability, transformation and expansion. These investments will help to protect our environment, meet the challenge of climate change, and create employment opportunities. They will make Jamaica competitive and strengthen connections between investors and suppliers,” said Norman Naar, VP of Sales and Promotions at Jamaica’s investment and export promotions agency, JAMPRO.
Ultimately, the goal is to encourage and facilitate the development of products and services that will enhance the lives of the island’s population. These products and services will also use technology to advance sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and others.
What innovative investment projects are underway?
There are a number of innovative and sustainable investment projects underway within the Jamaican economy. In the energy sector, there are three significant solar and wind energy projects generating 115MW kWh in renewable energy; approximately 14% of energy generation. Renewable energy is a significant part of Jamaica’s Integrated Resource Plan, which aims to achieve 30% of electricity generation from renewables by 2030.
These projects include the 20-megawatt (MW) Content Solar Ltd. solar energy electricity generation plant owned by WRB Energy Company; the Wigton windfarm with a 20.7 MW plant and an 18 MW extension facility, the largest wind energy facility in the English-speaking Caribbean; and Jamaica’s largest photovoltaic power plant, the 51 MWp (megawatts-peak) Paradise Park solar farm, one of the cheapest producers of energy in the country.
In manufacturing, the government has highlighted the island’s “clean beauty” sector as an area of focus, where investors would partner with local manufacturers of beauty products that use ethically sourced ingredients like local castor oil. Helping these local companies increase production and find additional markets will increase employment in the communities from which they source their workers and boost the manufacturing industry.
Another area of focus in manufacturing is the transformation of plants like bamboo to create raw materials and value-added products. The Bamboo Bioproducts (BBP) project will be the first fully integrated bamboo pulp mill, using a sustainable agro-ecological-industrial model.
Locally grown bamboo acquired from company-owned lands and managed farms across the island will be used to manufacture bamboo pulp, which will be exported to global markets.
In tourism, there are opportunities to create wellness and eco-tourism projects that will protect Jamaica’s environment, while building on the country’s strong brand as a destination for visitors. With regards to agriculture, Naar revealed, “We are seeking innovative investments in agribusiness that can improve the sector’s resilience, profitability, and output.”
“In the leveraging of technology in agriculture, we look to reduce risk of theft, improve consistency and significantly increase yield or scale of production. Therefore, we have a major drive to increase the use of agriculture tech or Agtech as it is also known.”
Such strategies include the creation of projects that have Agtech elements like controlled environment agriculture, automation of commercial greenhouses, and precision farming. Climate smart agriculture and climate-resilient crops are also needed.
Investment in medicinal plants and the cannabis industry will provide the opportunity to boost medical research and will lead to the development of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
How will Jamaica increase innovative investment?
To increase the level of these innovative investments that are sustainable, and to create economic benefits and local business and community involvement, the gov’t has launched the Priority Investment Project Initiative as part of Jamaica’s National Investment Policy.
The initiative prioritizes projects with high performance in areas like economic impact, innovation, linkages, investment, and developmental impact on the local economy. Once a project meets the required standards and is approved by Jamaica’s Cabinet, the investors will receive non-fiscal benefits to assist in overcoming challenges they may face with the venture.
Regarding the initiative, Minister Hill said, “We are serious about fostering investments that bring innovation to Jamaica, and that includes working with investors in achieving their goals.”
“This priority investment initiative will help us to give these projects even more support; at the same time, it helps to ensure that we meet our Vision 2030 objectives through projects that will provide a major boost to our economy and society,” Minister Hill concluded.