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Country Highlights

Jamaica: Challenges and Opportunities for Foreign Investment

Foreign investment in Jamaica’s economy presents both challenges and opportunities. The country has been successful in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), with China and Spain being major drivers of FDI in 2020. However, there are challenges related to the macroeconomic climate, market access, and the choice of exchange rate regime. Jamaica has been successful in attracting FDI, but it is as yet unclear what benefit this will offer the economy. Much investment has been in low-value-added industries, and it is questionable whether Jamaica is currently attractive to investors with more demanding expectations. Additionally, there are vulnerabilities in the macroeconomic climate, with inflation remaining a threat and clear vulnerabilities in the exchange rate policy.

The Jamaican government considers foreign direct investment (FDI) a key driver for economic growth. The country has made efforts to create a more welcoming environment for foreign investment, with a significant host government commitment to mining, tourism, and airport development. Business process outsourcing (BPO) has continued to attract local and overseas investment, and investments in improved air, sea, and land transportation have reduced time and costs for transporting goods. However, there are challenges related to corruption, technical barriers to trade, and high electricity costs, which can be impediments for businesses. Crime and corruption remain significant concerns in Jamaica, with security measures associated with crime adding to the cost of doing business.

In the emerging medicinal cannabis market, Jamaica has been exploring the opportunities and threats of foreign investment. The country has been working to ensure the inclusion of small-scale and community operators in the new cannabis industry. However, there have been concerns over long time frames for finalizing regulatory frameworks and structural and financial barriers. The implementation of the legal medicinal cannabis market has proved challenging, and there have been concerns over security and surveillance requirements for legal cannabis.

Jamaica presents opportunities for foreign investment, particularly in sectors such as mining, tourism, and the emerging medicinal cannabis market. However, there are challenges related to the macroeconomic climate, market access, corruption, technical barriers to trade, and high electricity costs. The Jamaican government has been working to create a more welcoming environment for foreign investment, but efforts are needed to address the challenges and ensure a more conducive business climate for investors.

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