Jamaica News: Jamaica’s global services sector (GSS) is poised for further buildout over the next five years under a special programme being initiated by the Government, with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan funding support totalling US$15 million.
Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke; and the IDB’s Chief of Operations, Adriana La Valley, on Thursday (January 24), signed a loan agreement at the Ministry to undertake the Skills Development for Global Services Project.
The initiative, to be executed by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), will focus on upskilling and preparing persons working in the industry for high-end jobs, in particular, and strengthening Jamaica’s institutional capacity to attract new GSS investments.
The Global Services Sector comprises activities in business process outsourcing (BPO), which has expanded significantly in Jamaica; information technology outsourcing (ITO), which is being done on a small scale locally; and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO).
It is anticipated that further GSS expansion in Jamaica will generate a significant number of additional jobs, while repositioning Jamaica to capture a greater percentage of the global market.
This is expected to bolster Jamaica’s engagement in the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 – which is characterised by engagements and inputs such as robotic process automation, telemedicine, and smart home appliances.
Dr. Clarke said the Skills Development for Global Services Project is a “very strategic initiative” by the Government in targeting a sector that is “showing tremendous growth and where tremendous opportunities exist”.
He said it is intended that the initiative’s implementation “will have tremendous impact on the industry and catalyse its deepening and growth even further”.
Dr. Clarke noted that Jamaica’s GSS has recorded rapid growth in recent years, particularly in BPO and ITO, which currently employ some 32,000 persons.
He further pointed out that 57 per cent of the significantly higher number of jobs generated in 2015 and 2016 were within the sector.
The Minister said based on industry developments, this is expected to increase to 40,000 persons within the next year “and within another two years or so, that number should increase to 50,000”.
For her part, JAMPRO President, Diane Edwards, said the agency is proud to be executing the project, which she described as a “critical lynchpin and stepping stone to creating a vibrant digital sector in Jamaica”.
Noting that only a handful of the 60-plus firms providing information technology-enabled services are local entities, Ms. Edwards said JAMPRO “wants to see more Jamaican companies established in this space, offering world-class IT consulting services, managing contracts for global companies, creating new apps to solve regional and international problems and analysing market data”.
Meanwhile, Ms. La Valley described the project as a “groundbreaking process” that represents the “first stepping stone towards transforming the way we do business in Jamaica”.
“The Government of Jamaica has been successful in establishing and consolidating the IT-enabled services sector. This [project] marks the beginning of a new Jamaica ready to ride the digital wave and move forward,” she added.
Training under the project will be administered by HEART Trust/NTA, which will also be a part of the Global Services Sector Skills Board (GSSSB) being established to ensure that the training programmes will be filling the needs of the private sector.
Representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Business Process Outsourcing Industry Association of Jamaica will also sit on the Board.
Source: JIS News