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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

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

Jamaica
Charmaine Wright
3rd Floor,
Courtleigh Corporate Centre,
6 St. Lucia Avenue,
Kingston 5
Jamaica
+1 (876) 960-0459