“Where we need to improve is by creating more jobs for the diaspora talent pool.”
- Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw
The Jamaican government must create more jobs to attract diasporans, charged Jamaican Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw, who at the recent Caribbean Future Summit dubbed the nation’s diaspora as “one of the country’s greatest underutilized assets”.
“Where we need to improve is by creating more jobs for the diaspora talent pool,” Shaw said. “We need to implement more opportunities for Jamaicans to fill jobs in our growing digital global services sector, fill executive posts in the tourism sector and bring new technologies back to Jamaica — for example, the state-of the-art analysis venture in Montego Bay, our second city.”
He emphasized, “The diaspora can become a major player in Jamaica’s future development provided we can tap into the following:
“Channel the diaspora’s desire to give back into profitable mutually beneficial investments. Build [and] enhance training relationships between Jamaican exporters and diaspora importers. Create the economic growth conditions and employment opportunities that will entice many diasporans back home to leverage their expertise for the country’s development.”
Room for job growth
As he outlined several areas targeted for job creation, economic growth and investment in Jamaica, Shaw noted, “The Development Bank of Jamaica has launched the Go-Digital Technical Assistance Programme for MSMEs. This will promote their adoption of cutting-edge technology practices in business, moving away from manual product and service delivery processes.
“In tourism, tourism has been one of the best performing industries in Jamaica… One major change that happened during the period was the promulgation of amendments to the casino gaming act, which will enable local players to diversify their offering to visitors and improve Jamaica’s attractiveness to world travelers.
“While not a fiscal incentive, this is poised to improve the tourism product in Jamaica by driving high-value investments and quality jobs in the sector, which will support its ongoing recovery.”
Tourism is “rebounding well”, Shaw said, as “travel restrictions are being lifted, visitor arrivals are consistently increasing and more and more airlines and cruise companies are resuming their regular schedule of arrivals, some with additional stops in our international airports”
But the minister also pointed out untapped potential in the agriculture industry, stating, “You know, I must say to you, our investments abound in orchard crops. Mangoes, we don’t have enough orchard crops. Ackee, we don’t have enough orchard crops. Those are [there] and we have a lot of idle land and idle hands; those are opportunities waiting for investment.”