Jamaica launched its second National Export Strategy (NES) in Kingston on 20 August. The new strategy will be implemented from 2015 until 2019.
The Prime Minister of Jamaica Portia Simpson-Miller officiated at the launch and was joined by high-level officials including the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Hon Anthony Hylton and the Minister of State for Small Business and Investment Hon Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams. Stakeholders from the private and public sectors, civil society and academia were also in attendance.
The Commonwealth Secretariat has been working with the Government of Jamaica and key stakeholders over the past eight months to identify the prioritised sectors that will receive targeted support to build the country’s export potential.
This work has culminated in the design of the new strategy, which incorporates a strategic action plan and an implementation framework to help accountable agencies execute the plan and measure how and where export growth occurs over the period.
Key stakeholders who participated in a number of visioning exercises and the NES Consultative symposium concluded in January this year that there are five sectors and five cross-cutting issues which hold the greatest potential for boosting the value and volume of Jamaica’s exports in highly competitive global markets. Jamaica has identified a mix of prioritised high value service sectors and traditional sectors in which the country has excelled.
One of the main issues is creating an enabling environment, which requires focused, targeted interventions to improve the country’s supply capacity. This involves boosting the country’s ability to produce good quality products at a competitive price, lowering the transaction costs of trading across borders and creating new opportunities for the country’s producers to penetrate regional and global markets.
Jamaica’s first NES 2010-2013 was unable to meet the expectations for export growth and increased employment. As a consequence there is considerable pressure to achieve good results with the new NES. In most sectors targets have been set at 15 per cent growth per annum from the second year of implementation onwards. The Agenda for Growth package, negotiated with the IMF to tackle Jamaica’s high indebtedness, will also play a key role in supporting conditions for growth of the economy.
“Jamaica has an important role to play as a powerhouse of the Caribbean Region”, said Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj.
Mr Maharaj added: “We are happy to have supported Jamaica with this major initiative. This is part of the Commonwealth’s emphasis on providing high-level policy support that will have a positive transformational impact on our member states by increasing employment, growth and development.”
Mohammed Razzaque, Acting Director of the Commonwealth’s Trade Division said: “Jamaica’s potential to build regional value chains and tap into increasingly complex global value chains could be a key tool in Jamaica’s development.”
Recognising Jamaica’s development as fundamental to growth across the region, the Secretariat has committed further support to the country and will play a role in the NES monitoring and evaluation processes going forward. An additional project has been initiated to support the country’s export diversification through the New products and New Markets Scheme’, and to ensure gender equality is reflected in the new strategy.