KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The minister of industry, investment and commerce, Anthony Hylton has welcomed the news of Jamaica’s upward movement of eight places in the Global Competitiveness Rankings. Hylton cited the work of the National Competitiveness Council, which he chairs, as being central to the focused efforts of the ministry and the government to reverse Jamaica’s slide in one of the most important indices of global business competitiveness produced by the World Economic Forum.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton
“Despite tough economic conditions, our significant move up the Global Competitiveness Rankings points to the progress we are making, both in the public and private sectors to improve the environment for business in Jamaica,” said Hylton.
Jamaica’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report, 2014-2015 shows an improved business environment moving from 94 last year, up to 86 out of the 144 countries surveyed for the level of productivity in their institutions and policies for business.
Jamaica’s best performance was in the area of financial market development, attaining a rank of 48 out of 144 countries, a factor that speaks to the availability of financial services and ease of access to loans as well as other financial related variables that influence business.
Hylton pointed this out as one of areas of focus for the National Competitiveness Council in the Business Environment Reform Agenda (BERA), which he described as essential to Jamaica’s drive to create a logistics-centred economy.
“In this area of financial market development, validation by the global business community is a significant achievement for the country, which continues to put us significantly ahead of our key regional counterparts, chief of which are the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago,” noted Hylton.
The Global Competiveness Report also highlighted other significant areas of improvement for Jamaica such as in Innovation, where the country moved up the rankings from 83 to 75; mobile broadband subscription, moving from 114 to 69 and in the macro-economic segment of government budget balance, where Jamaica achieved a meteoric jump from 96 to 21.
Jamaica’s next best performance was in the area of labour market efficiency, which includes cooperation in labour-employee relations, hiring and firing practices, the country’s capacity to retain and attract talent and the ratio of women to men in the labour force, among other factors that affect the labour market efficiency.
Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), which is the Secretariat for the National Competitiveness Council, cited these factors as key to attracting investments to Jamaica.
Diane Edwards, JAMPRO’s president noted that this has worked in the country’s favour for landing tourism and business process outsourcing (BPO) investments in terms of income generation and employment.
“This year, foreign direct investments into Jamaica increased exponentially over the previous five years since the onset of the global economic recession in 2008 to reach a high of US$576 million. These investments were in capital infrastructure as well as tourism and BPO. This increase in global competitiveness will serve to further improve Jamaica’s standing on the international market and will hopefully make our work at JAMPRO a little smoother in landing more of these investments,” said Edwards.
Respectively, Switzerland, Singapore and the United States sit in the top three positions in the Global Competitiveness Index 2014–2015 Rankings.