After four decades of little or not growth, the Jamaican economy is expected to grow at 1-2% over the medium term. The country is confronted by serious social issues that predominantly affect youth, such as high levels of crime and violence and high unemployment.
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Washington, D.C., October 29, 2014—A new World Bank Group report finds that Jamaica has the Caribbean’s highest ranking on the ease of doing business: 58 among 189 economies worldwide. Over the past y... Show More +ear, Jamaica implemented three reforms, the most in Latin America and the Caribbean along with the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. Jamaica also appears closer than it was last year to global best practices in business regulation as measured by its Distance to Frontier ranking.Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency finds that 50 percent of economies in the Caribbean* implemented at least one reform making it easier for local entrepreneurs to do business—12 reforms in total, a historical high for the region. Among them, Jamaica streamlined the requirements for starting a business, reduced the cost of getting an electricity connection, and established new credit bureaus while also adopting a new secured transactions law that broadens the range of assets that can be used as collateral.“We are encouraged by Jamaica's new global competitiveness standing which highlights that we are open for business. It is clear evidence that the present positive movement in our competitiveness is associated with our sustained program of comprehensive economic reforms which we started approximately two years ago,” said Jamaica Minister of Finance and Planning, Peter Phillips. “In this regard, our international development partners have also been quite supportive through dialogue, technical and financial assistance and we will continue this partnership to build a stronger economy," he added.Joining Jamaica in implementing multiple regulatory reforms were the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. The Dominican Republic made cross-border trade easier by reducing the number of documents required to import and export, improved the regulatory framework for credit reporting, and strengthened minority shareholder protections. Trinidad and Tobago made resolving insolvency easier by introducing a new restructuring proceeding. It also strengthened the rights of secured creditors during reorganization procedures. And it made starting a business easier by introducing online systems for employer and tax registration.“Entrepreneurs in the Caribbean continue to see gains in the business environment. With half the region’s economies making regulatory reforms in the past year, the Caribbean continues to move in the right direction,” said Rita Ramalho, Doing Business report lead author, World Bank Group. “Yet while the region continues to reform, there is still room for further improvement in the business environment.”The report this year expands the data for three of the 10 topics covered, and there are plans to do so for five more topics next year. In addition, the ease of doing business ranking is now based on the distance to frontier score. This measure shows how close each economy is to global best practices in business regulation.The report finds that Singapore tops the global ranking on the ease of doing business. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulatory environments are New Zealand; Hong Kong SAR, China; Denmark; the Republic of Korea; Norway; the United States; the United Kingdom; Finland; and Australia.* The Caribbean region includes the following economies: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.About the Doing Business report seriesThe annual World Bank Group flagship Doing Business report analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on the distance to frontier scores for 10 topics and cover 189 economies. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. Each year the report team works to improve the methodology and to enhance their data collection, analysis and output. The project has benefited from feedback from many stakeholders over the years. With a key goal to provide an objective basis for understanding and improving the local regulatory environment for business around the world, the project goes through rigorous reviews to ensure its quality and effectiveness. This year’s report marks the 12th edition of the global Doing Business report series. For more information about the Doing Business reports, please visit doingbusiness.org and join us on doingbusiness.org/Facebook.About the World Bank GroupThe World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and ifc.org. Show Less -
Most Honorable Prime Minister Portia Simpson MillerHonorable Minister of Finance Peter PhillipsPresident Warren SmithDeputy Managing Director Min ZhuDirector, Western Hemisphere Alejandro WernerMinist... Show More +ersDear Partners and colleagues,It is a pleasure to be here today and be able to share some thoughts about how to move forward a sustainable growth agenda for the Caribbean.It is often forgotten that before the last global financial crisis hit, people in the Caribbean benefited from the region’s steady economic progress, improving health, education, and standard of living. The Caribbean region’s GDP per capita increased six fold in the last 3 decades and poverty has been reduced. For instance, in Jamaica, poverty rates dropped almost 20 percent in two decades.However, the global financial crisis exposed the fragility of the Caribbean region. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, Caribbean nations experienced declining or negative growth, and as a result unemployment increased.This, together with weak safety nets, reversed some of the hard won social gains as poverty levels increased, reaching almost 40% of the population. Lack of fiscal space meant that governments were not able to cushion these declines with counter cyclical stimulus programs; and where they did, they did so at the cost of further worsening primary balances.Minister Philips already mentioned that the effects of the global crisis have lasted longer in the Caribbean than other regions of the world. And while South American countries enjoyed the arrival to the trade scene of large commodity importers such as China, and benefited enormously from positive terms of trade. That did not happen in the Caribbean where onn the contrary, terms of trade worsened. On top of this, the region is exposed to natural disasters, an additional concern that builds more vulnerability. For this reason, the Caribbean cannot be analyzed with the same criteria than other regional economies.For instance, size matters. Smaller economies tend to be concentrated in a few sectors.Therefore regional integration designed to take advantages of economies of scale and public sector modernization are critical.To tackle this situation, several countries including Jamaica and Grenada have already embarked upon significant reform programs. And progress has been made. But, here I join Deputy Managing Director Min Zhu recognizing the impressive efforts that the authorities of the Caribbean have done in order to achieve this. At the same time, the complexity of identifying which reforms are needed to ignite economic growth has also been highlighted. Show Less -