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Overview

  • Update on COVID-19:

    The World Bank Group is working closely with partners to respond to the global pandemic in the Caribbean and around the world. For information on coronavirus and the global response, please visit: https://www.worldbank.org/en/who-we-are/news/coronavirus-covid19

    The World Bank stands ready to support our partners in the Caribbean and will provide updates on actions being taken. For information on the COVID-19 response in the Latin America and Caribbean region, please visit: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/factsheet/2020/04/02/world-bank-response-to-covid-19-coronavirus-latin-america-and-caribbean

    Context

    Jamaica is the largest island in the English-speaking Caribbean, and the most populated with 2.93 million people. Like its neighbors, Jamaica is vulnerable to natural disasters - such as hurricanes and flooding - and the effects of climate change. It is an upper middle-income economy that is nevertheless struggling due to low growth, high public debt, and exposure to external shocks.

    In 2013, Jamaica launched an ambitious reform program to stabilize the economy, reduce debt, and fuel growth, gaining national and international support.

    Public debt fell below 100% of GDP in 2018/19 and is expected to decline below 60% by 2025/26, in line with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Law.  The rate of unemployment also fell to a historic low of 7.2% in October 2019, which is almost half the rate at the start of the reform program.

     
    Inequality in Jamaica is lower than in most countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region, but poverty at 19% in 2017 is still significant. Stronger and more resilient economic growth is needed to eliminate poverty and boost shared prosperity. Crime and violence levels remain high, emphasizing the need to address the issues of youth unemployment, education, and social cohesion.

    Poverty is expected to decline further with rising per-capita GDP, lower unemployment, and strengthened safety nets. 

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2020

  • Since 2013, the World Bank Group (WBG) has provided more than US$500 million of development policy and investment financing to Jamaica, helping to support private sector-led growth, public sector transformation, and social and climate resilience. The WBG’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2014-19 is aligned with Jamaica’s Vision 2030, with focuses on:

    ·       Public sector modernization to enhance the government’s capacity and effectiveness.

    ·       Private sector-led growth by improving the business climate and fostering investment in high-potential sectors.

    ·       Social and climate resilience by strengthening the government’s social protection programs and supporting the development of a comprehensive framework for disaster and climate risk management. 

    In addition, the WBG has provided two grants to help Jamaica improve its management of climate data and information and support the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities.

    In 2019, the WBG marked 55 years of partnership with Jamaica, and over this period has provided over US$3 billion in loan and grant financing, as well as knowledge and advisory support in key areas such as education and early childhood development, infrastructure, agriculture, and the power sector.

    The IFC, the private-sector arm of the WBG, works across a broad range of sectors in Jamaica, including financial markets, infrastructure, information and communications technology, and manufacturing and services.

    In 2020, a new Country Partnership Strategy will be completed to ensure that the goals of the Government of Jamaica and those of the World Bank Group remain well aligned.

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2020

  • Projects financed by the World Bank Group have achieved important results in Jamaica in recent years. Some highlights include:

    ·       More than 387,000 Jamaicans have benefited from the government’s Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), a conditional cash transfer program that helps improve school attendance and health visits of children in poor households, putting families on a better path, and building the country’s human capital.

    ·       The Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) helped to improve market access for micro- and small-scale farmers and their service providers by supporting revenue-generating activities in agriculture and tourism, while also providing critical infrastructure, marketing, and management support. More than 1,400 farmers have benefited from improved technology, training, and access to markets. A Second REDI project signed in March 2020 will scale up investments and will benefit more than 20,000 individual beneficiaries—of which an estimated 40% will be women and 30% youths.

    ·       An education “passport” has been implemented to track the growth and progress of each Jamaican child in their first few years of life, while also setting the quality standards for Early Childhood Development institutions through the Early Childhood Development Project.

    ·       The Jamaica Integrated Community Development Project has helped improve community safety and development in 18 economically and socially vulnerable inner city and rural communities by improving infrastructure such as solar street lighting, water supply systems, solid waste management, the installation of fire hydrants, and introducing violence interrupters and school-based violence prevention. More than 300 young people were trained in entrepreneurship, CPR & first aid, community mediation, and restorative justice.

    ·       The Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project helps to strengthen the business environment in Jamaica, facilitate private investment in strategic infrastructure assets and support the transformation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to high-potential supply chains.

    ·       With the support of the Access to Finance for MSMEs Project, Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Jamaica are better able to access finance. This project also strengthens the Credit Enhancement Facility, a credit guarantee facility and enables the Jamaican business environment to provide more business development services to MSMEs. This project also provides funding for the development of new financing instruments based on movable assets.

    ·       The Jamaica Energy Security and Efficiency Enhancement Project has supported the development of regulations and policies for renewable energy and natural gas, contributing to an increase of generation capacity from 9% at the start of the project, to 12% in 2017, and is expected to reach over 20% in 2030.

    ·       With support from the Strategic Public Sector Transformation Project, formal participatory budgeting has become part of the annual budgeting process in Jamaica since 2015, strengthening the management of public investments. A public investment management system has been put in place to help policymakers provide better governance of public investments.

    ·       The Youth Employment in Digital and Animation Industries Project is building on successful pilots in the Digital Jam and KingstOOn events, with more than 4,000 young Jamaicans engaged in digital enterprises, supporting the growth of the Jamaican animation training and industry.

    ·       As disaster risk management has become a key priority for Jamaica, the Climate Data and Information Management Project is helping improve collection and analysis of climate data while strengthening early warning systems. The Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) is helping to enhance physical resilience to disasters. The Bank is supporting Jamaica to elaborate and put in place a comprehensive disaster risk financing architecture.

    ·       IFC supported the BMR Jamaica Wind Project, a 36-megawatt wind farm, which is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 66,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, equivalent to taking roughly 13,000 cars off the road.

    ·       IFC has worked with several financial institutions to establish SME best practices, improving reach to a financially underserved sector. IFC is in discussions with financial institutions to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19.

    ·       In Agriculture, IFC worked with Jamaican coffee producers to help increase the quality and quantity of coffee grown and processed through a combination of activities focused on improving genetics, sharing best practices in agronomy, and creating inclusive business models. The project facilitated the distribution and planting of over 300,000 coffee seedlings along with technical training to improve productivity. IFC also advised a group of Jamaican producers of sauces and spices on how to strengthen the value chain of SMEs in the sector by enhancing market linkages, using market feedback to address supply-side coordination failures, and improving food safety standards. IFC recently started the Agricultural Supply Chain Linkages project to identify agricultural products that can be produced at a comparative advantage for the Jamaica market.

    ·       IFC is working with the Government of Jamaica on several advisory projects to improve the secured transactions environment, support e-titling with the land agency, build a trade portal with key information on goods exports and imports, and support investment climate reforms. IFC works with Jamaica Promotions Corporation to assist in the implementation reforms in areas measured by investment climate indicators.

    ·      On secured transactions, IFC provided support in the design of a reverse factoring platform to work with anchor firms via the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), and support the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in deepening the market for moveable asset-based lending using the collateral registry and secured transactions framework.

    ·      IFC’s technical assistance contributed to the development of a national trade facilitation roadmap and supporting the newly formed Trade Facilitation Task Force. The program supports the simplification and modernization of the complex and inefficient trade regime including developing a trade information portal, building capacity to apply risk management, simplification of procedures and modernization of the Jamaica Customs Act.

    ·  Recently, IFC worked with the Jamaican government to improve the regulatory, institutional, and administrative framework for business taxation in addition to advising on the public-private-partnership concession for the Norman Manley International Airport, which is expected to improve airport access and quality of services for passengers, expand infrastructure capacity, and spur private investment. 

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2020

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LENDING

Jamaica: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Dominican Republic
Alejandra De La Paz
adelapaz@worldbank.org