The Government of Jamaica has been lauded by the Government of China for the current level of growth in the economy and the steady reduction in unemployment. As at April 2022, Jamaica’s unemployment rate stood at a six per cent, in contrast to a high of 12.6% in July 2020.
During a courtesy call on Labour and Social Security Ministe, Karl Samuda last week, Chen Daojiang, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica, congratulated the labour minister on the country’s high level of employment, noting that “nearly every Jamaican has a job”.
In response, Samuda said Jamaica’s success is due in large part to the cooperation and support that have been provided by the Government of China, especially in construction and infrastructure development, which he said has been “greatly enhanced by cooperation with the Chinese Government”.
Samuda further expressed his satisfaction with the level of expertise which Chinese construction and infrastructure companies have brought to Jamaica, and the attendant transfer of knowledge to the Jamaican workforce.
The ambassador said up to 96% of the workforce engaged in some infrastructure projects locally, are Jamaican nationals.
Samuda said he expects the continued “partnership to bear great fruit in the future”.
In a reference toaAmbassador on what he called the “infrastructural exploits of China”, noting that the “technology was unprecedented in the world”.
The ambassador expressed pleasure at the state of China/Jamaica bi-lateral relations, and pledged his support to the elevation of the existing relationship towards the establishment of a strategic partnership between the two countries.
He noted that the recently constructed of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) building and the North/South Highway are “new landmarks of the China/Jamaica friendship”, adding that Chinese nationals are being encouraged to integrate with the Jamaican workers, thereby strengthening their mutual social development.
Chen Daojiang observed that there are currently more than 60,000 Chinese nationals residing in Jamaica, collectively contributing more than $2 billion annually to the country’s social/economic development.
For his part, Samuda confirmed the existence of a large Chinese community in Jamaica over many decades, and remarked that the current work arrangements are likely to increase the proportion of Chinese descendants in Jamaica.
He assured the ambassador of the ministry’s commitment to ensuring the expeditious processing of work permits “for Chinese nationals whose expertise is needed on development projects in Jamaica”.
Chinese nationals are the largest group of international workers in Jamaica, accounting for 40% of the work permits that are approved annually.
Chen Daojiang noted that 2022 marks 50 years of bilateral relations between the peoples of Jamaica and China, and advised Samuda that his government is planning a series of activities to observe the milestone.