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Jamaica’s Minister for Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, exhorted businessmen and women in America to make Jamaica their next investment destination. The audience he addressed in Philadelphia, US had a number of Jamaicans living in the US in attendance; the occasion was the ‘Doing Business in Jamaica’ luncheon.
Emphasis on the Agriculture Sector
Minister Shaw highlighted his portfolio to showcase the opportunities the island provides to investors. He said there was sufficient cultivable land available in the country and a huge domestic demand for agricultural produce. He mentioned the Pan-Jamaican school feeding programme that created more demand for food as well as the booming tourism industry. Besides, the export potential for food has always been there. He then went on to explain that the Jamaican economy is poised for a healthy growth phase with better employment figures and improved infrastructure created over the past few years.
Other Dignitaries Present at the Event
Besides Audley Shaw, the ‘Doing Business in Jamaica’ luncheon also saw in attendance Jamaica’s ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks and the newly appointed Honorary Consul for Jamaica in Philadelphia, Christopher Chaplin. Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) was the host of this event and Diane Edwards, President of JAMPRO was also present to share her views. A number of other institutions and organisations were involved in organising the luncheon including Team Jamaica Bickle, University of Pennsylvania, World Trade Centre of Greater Philadelphia, and Global Philadelphia.The event sponsors were the Jamaica Tourist Board and Philadelphia International Medicine.
The city of Philadelphia was chosen for a couple of reasons. One of which is the large Jamaican population in the city. The other was to coincide with the Penn Relays, which attracted some 50,000 people from the island.
Almost everyone who spoke tried to convey that this was indeed the best time to invest in Jamaica. Apart from agriculture, the sectors seen as ideal for investments include construction, energy, logistics, telecommunications, legal and healthcare. These agencies will have to follow through with more efforts at wooing the potential investors; only then will the advantage of having hosted this luncheon come to fruition.