President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Diane Edwards, says the country performed creditably in attracting $64 billion (US$551 million) in Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) during 2014, despite this figure being a seven per cent decline over 2013 inflows.
The fall in the figure, contained in the United Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) 2015 World Investment Report (WIR15), is largely attributed to delays in the implementation of some major projects, as well as an increase in investment funding sourced locally.
The Report also shows that global FDIs fell by 16 per cent to US$1.3 trillion, and Latin American and Caribbean inflows, by 14 per cent to US$149 billion in 2014, relative to the previous year.
These fall-offs have been largely attributed to lingering effects of the 2008/09 global economic downturn, and in the case of Latin American and Caribbean countries, factors such as reduced cross-border mergers and acquisitions.
Details of the Report were outlined during the official launch in Jamaica, at JAMPRO’s New Kingston Corporate Office, on June 24.
Ms. Edwards said in examining Jamaica’s 2014 FDI outturn, within the context of the regional and global double digit inflow declines, the country has “actually, performed pretty creditably, in a very challenging international market.”
She pointed out that while FDIs declined, Local Direct Investments (LDIs) “played a much greater role,” in the local investment climate during 2014.
Ms. Edwards said LDIs, which showed “strong recovery” over the 2014/15 fiscal year, formed part of JAMPRO-facilitated capital expenditure for the period, totalling $27.1 billion, on major projects in sectors such as Agriculture, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and Mining.
This represented a $9.1 billion increase over fiscal year 2013/14.
“We are seeing really positive signs coming from the local private sector in developing local direct investment projects; and, in fact, what we are also seeing is increased and renewed activity on the part of our local banks, which is very positive. JAMPRO-facilitated activities were also able to add over 8,200 jobs across all sectors, largely Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and tourism,” she added.
Ms. Edwards said the outlook for Jamaica’s future is “very positive,” against the background of an anticipated 11 per cent increase in global FDIs for 2015, to US$1.4 trillion, “as the US and European markets face turnaround,” coupled with several local projects “which are going to kick off (or be completed) this year.”
“So, we expect positive impacts from the completion of the North/South Highway; we expect that there will be some logistics projects that are going to start, particularly the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) port development; and divestment of the Norman Manley International Airport,” she indicated.
Ms. Edwards also highlighted major tourism projects pending, which are expected to provide an additional 5,000 hotel rooms, for which “we are expecting to break ground in the next (2016/17) financial year.”
The JAMPRO President said local business confidence is also increasing, pointing out that 65 per cent of firms have reported that the current investment climate is conducive to increased investments.
“So, we expect, overall, increased investments in 2015/16, and expect to see a positive outturn in the next financial year. We also expect Local Direct Investments to achieve greater heights, and over the next five years, we are expecting to see increased financial activity,” Ms. Edwards added.
The UNCTAD World Investment Report presents the latest data on trends and policies of international investment, providing key economic intelligence for policymakers and the international development community.
UNCTAD, which comprises 194 member states, is the United Nations body responsible for dealing with development issues, particularly international trade.
Published Date: June 24th, 2015