Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, says a recent “mission” to several major business hubs in the United States (US) and Canada, exploring investment opportunities for the island, was largely successful.
The tour, which included stops in Toronto, New York and Washington DC, and dubbed ‘Export and Investment Business Mission’, was done in coordination with Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the trade and investment agency of the Ministry, according to Mr. Hill.
The delegation, he said, also included leading public and private-sector stakeholders, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, as well as top-level US Officials.
Represented also were members of the diaspora, including Professor Donald Harris, father of the current Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris.
“A key highlight of our itinerary was to visit Goudas Food, a leading establishment headquartered in Ontario, Canada, and renowned for the distribution of quality products in North America, and where I met with two of the senior directors. This was a ministerial mission to explore export and investment opportunities between Canada and the United States, and everybody was excited at the prospects, ” Minister Hill told JIS News.
Mr. Hill said the mission also included a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Invest, James P. Scriven, which he described “as very fruitful”.
Mr. Scriven is responsible for the private-sector institution of the IDB Group, with a portfolio of $13.1 billion in assets under management and 385 clients in 25 countries.
IDB Invest is a multilateral development bank that focuses on providing innovative financial solutions and advisory services for its clients, while achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The IDB has been a reliable partner of Jamaica for decades, which might have prompted its top Caribbean executive, Tariq Ali, to declare recently that the bank is “championing the growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to drive the sustained economic growth of Jamaica”.
“The Government of Jamaica is fully aware that supporting the MSMEs is crucial given the important role they play in creating jobs, strengthening communities, and increasing contribution to macroeconomic growth and sustainable development,” Mr. Hill said.
“This strategic and focused effort at engaging with and strengthening the MSME sector through this MIC/IDB MSME Business Roadshow is critical to the country’s long-term economic growth. It comes against the background of the Ministry’s development and ongoing monitoring of the MSMEs and Entrepreneurship Policy and our recognition that many players within the sector face major challenges in their daily operations, thus impacting their profitability and sustainability,” he added.
For his part, Senior Advisor and Strategist in the Ministry of Tourism and JAMPRO Board member, Delano Seiveright, who was also a part of the delegation, told JIS News that the trip reaffirmed “what has been widely known” that brand Jamaica remains a force and “with a climate that is investor friendly”.
“Minister Hill and Ambassador Marks are two of our top public servants who are held in high esteem globally,” he added.
“Our country is on the right track, and from a tourism and investment perspective I am just happy to have a ringside seat and from where I am able to make a difference,” he said.