Jamaica intends to capitalise on investment opportunities coming out of the World Free Zones Organization (WFZO) Annual International Conference and Exhibition (AICE) 2022 while taking advantage of the occasion to learn from its global partners, said Diane Edwards, President of the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).
Speaking during Tuesday’s session of the conference, which is being held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, Edwards informed that Jamaica has 10 projects in its “investment vault”, which are on show at the conference to potential investors across the globe “and hopefully, we can find investment partners for them”.
Key among those projects is the 1,200-acre Caymanas Special Economic Zone in St Catherine, which is being touted as an important element in establishing Jamaica as a global logistics hub.
“Then we have the Kingston Logistics Park, which is a Port Authority of Jamaica project and it is 80 hectares of land, where you can develop your warehousing distribution centre, manufacturing centre to service the region. Then we have a number of other projects, which range from hotel projects to agri-business and manufacturing,” she shared.
Edwards said JAMPRO will continue talks with prospective investors as the country pushes the expansion of its Special Economic Zones (SEZ).
“The next step for JAMPRO is to assess who we met and which ones are really worthy of follow-up… because these conferences are just the start of a conversation. The conversation must continue; that’s when you will actually see the gains. We will encourage people to come back to Jamaica to visit the sites of the projects that we have in the vault,” Edwards said.
The conference, from June 13 to 17, features global business leaders, multilateral organisations, and policymakers from some 140 countries, who are driven toward the development and expansion of SEZs.
Edwards said that with Jamaican on a path to becoming “the fourth node in the global logistics chain”, the event presents a prime opportunity for the country to innovate and adapt, thus attracting potential investors from across the world.
“We want to become a logistics-centred economy and a logistics centre equivalent to Dubai, Rotterdam and Singapore. What we can learn from this conference is how other countries have done it and how SEZs can become a driver of economic development. We want to talk to investors to showcase our investment opportunities,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, Edwards said JAMPRO is advancing its Global Services Sector (GSS) Project, which will upskill some 24,000 young people to prepare them for jobs in the sector.
“The most competitive factor for Jamaica is our youth and our skills. What we are doing at JAMPRO is to develop this talent pool,” she said, noting that the focus of the training is preparing young people for jobs in business process outsourcing (BPO), knowledge process outsourcing, and information teller technology outsourcing.
She added that the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) has been playing a critical role in equipping young people for jobs in the logistics area.
The WFZO 2022 AICE conference is being hosted by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA).
Attendees are benefiting from broad-based insight on critical issues affecting free zones, as well as various networking opportunities with key international decision-makers, who have an impact on business, trade, and investment.