By Nerissa Golden
BRADES, Montserrat (GIU) -- The recently published Diaspora Investment Survey for Montserrat reveals details of the financial power but also potential for nationals abroad to invest in the island’s future development.
Conducted by the UK-based Developing Markets Associates in 2012, the 245 survey responses were collected at nine focus groups held in the UK, US and in the Caribbean.
The report noted that 62% of respondents were in fulltime employment with 10% students and 13% retired. Only 3% of the sample was unemployed. The gender distribution within the sample was relatively even, with 53% of respondents being women. The largest age group surveyed was those between 51-60 years old, representing 24% of the sample. Another 39% percent of respondents were under 40 years old, which represents the largest demographic currently missing from the Island.
“The Montserratian Diaspora is highly skilled with a number of professions represented. Senior management in medium to large enterprises and SME business owners were two of the most common professions given in the survey, which also featured I.T. professionals, contractors / builders, doctors / nurses and teachers/lecturers amongst the respondents,” the report states.
David Crichton, the trade and investment promotion director at the Montserrat Development Corporation said Montserrat can adopt a model similar to the one that won Jamaica the award for its work with the Diaspora.
“Making successful Montserratians in the Diaspora ambassadors for the island can create a sales force that is global. Within their community and professional associations they can share what is happening on the island and encourage their colleagues and friends to invest as well,” Crichton explained.
“Of those that answered the question, 99% of respondents said that they actively save. 70% of respondents save in their country of residence, while 23% have savings in Montserrat. When asked about existing investments, 23% stated that they have no existing investments. Of the 67% with existing investments (in their country of residence or elsewhere) 19% have invested in property and 16% own shares in publicly listed companies.
“The average income of respondents is less than US$19,000 annually. However, 25% of respondents placed their income at over USD $50,000.
“Overall, the primary research undertaken showed that there is a great deal of interest in investing, or in ‘giving back’ to Montserrat amongst the Diaspora. Approximately half are interested in making a financial investment into Montserrat; 75% would consider providing technical assistance; 61% are interested to make a philanthropic contribution; and over 60% would consider moving back to Montserrat under varying conditions.
As it relates to the question on whether there was a desire to invest on Montserrat “13% of people surveyed already have investments in the island. A further 50% stated that they would be interested in making a financial investment, whilst 26% of respondents were undecided. 8% stated that they would not be interested in making a financial investment and 3% have made attempts to invest in the past, but have been unsuccessful. Interestingly, 21% of those over 40s already have investments in Montserrat, compared with only 5% of the under 40s. 78% of the under 40s are interested in making a financial investment, compared with only 47% of over 40s.”
The full report can be viewed and downloaded from the Office of the Premier’s publications page on www.gov.ms