Jamaican Prime Minister speaks growth, Chinese Investment, Tourism and Elections

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Pimm Fox and Zahra Burton interviewed Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness Thursday November 17, 2011 on Bloomberg Television’s programme “Taking Stock” about the government’s strategy for growth, China’s investment in the Caribbean, the outlook for tourism and elections.  In this short video (5 mins 33 secs) you will get a quick idea of what the strategy for investment has been and how the government is thinking regarding growing the economy.

Watch the full video here.

Here are some highlights from the interview

Growth
Q: They asked him how to maintain growth while reducing public spending.
A: The strategy is not to depend to public expenditure to generate growth. The government has struck up public/private partnerships related to infrastructure development working closely with the Chinese, Europeans, and Americans to work on projects related to;

  • ports
  • housing
  • road development
  • water

The 2.5% growth last quarter was related to infrastructure development.

Re the economy, the government hasn’t been able to align all 3 major factors (Interest rate, Exchange rate, Inflation rate) in 30 years, but they are currently doing this which is resulting in growth.

Trading
Prime Minister Holness stated, that America still remains Jamaica’s major trading partner and is a significant source of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s), however the Chinese has an interest in Jamaica.

Tourism
Tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner – Holness. Jamaica’s tourism arrivals keep on growing.

Tourism opportunities
There are several tourism investment opportunities at this time.

  1. Casino gaming – the licences have just been developed. We do not want to become a gaming destination but this area can be developed.
  2. Family tourism – we can be big in this area.
  3. Attractions – there are places with historic value which we have not been maximized.

Government Spending
Fiscal discipline is paramount – we have to borrow with a strategic view in mind, borrowing has to match priorities and those which will deliver results.

Managing the national debt is a priority

Bloomberg Fast Facts:

  1. Services account for 70% of the Jamaican economy
  2. Jamaican exports to the US amounted to US$355m last year
  3. US exports to Jamaica were US$1.6b last year
  4. Debt to Gdp ratio 126%
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