Global investors should unearth Jamaica's hidden treasures — Bowen

BOWEN... Jamaica continues to be a great place to invest and do business


SENIOR Vice-President of Scotia Group Bruce Bowen has called on global investors to 'unearth the hidden treasures in Jamaica' during the hosting of Jamaica Investment Forum earlier this week.

The Forum, which was led by the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), hopes to pull investment of over US$1 billion ($115 billion) into the economy over the next few years.

The event saw global investors from North America, Pakistan, Turkey, China, India, Spain, France and the United Kingdom attending what is termed as "Jamaica's premier international and business conference" at the Montego Bay Convention Centre over a two-day period.

"I would point to some specific sectors -- hidden treasures if you will -- that are ripe for further investments and which have great potential for growth," Bowen stated. "These areas are tourism, agriculture and agro-processing, ICT, business process outsourcing (BPO), export and manufacturing."

JAMPRO has indicated that it will be focusing on these marketable and bankable sectors during the Forum to assist in delivering jobs and GDP growth. It says that these sectors will help to create the desired logistics-centred economy.

"There can be no doubt that the development of the ICT sector has transformed life in Jamaica in many ways over the past two decades," Bowen stated.

"Our very own contact centre is a Scotiabank BPO success story, and it continues to grow and provide a range of services, including Internet, telephone and mobile banking support. We also maintain one of our three regional processing hubs in Jamaica, leveraging the quality and efficiency of our workforce, and the tax efficiency of exporting services within the region," Bowen added.

In 1889, the Canadian-owned Bank of Nova Scotia opened its first office in Kingston. Jamaica was the first branch of a Canadian bank to open outside of the US or UK, and formed the basis of what would become a thriving network spanning some 21 countries throughout the Caribbean, according to Bowen.

"We saw great opportunities based on the existing salt fish and lumber for rum and sugar trade between Jamaica and Canada. There were of course other larger territories in the same vicinity, namely Cuba and Hispaniola, with whom we could have developed connections, but language, legal traditions and trade links were different," he added.

Bowen listed the Jamaican people, infrastructure, access to and from the US, political stability and the continued political commitment to prudent fiscal policy and control of inflation as Jamaica's advantages and what made it attractive for Scotia to do business with the country.

"In Jamaica, we have grown from our humble beginnings in 1889 to a full-service financial institution offering banking, wealth and insurance services to a dedicated team of committed professionals in Jamaica now numbering over 6,000 across the Caribbean serving almost two million customers," he said.

"Clearly, our relatively small investment in Jamaica 125 years ago has proven to be one our most successful investments and today Jamaica continues to be a great place to invest and do business."

Published Date: 
Friday, March 13, 2015