Jamaica’s Economic Recovery supported by a strong Manufacturing Sector
Jamaica’s manufacturing sector has shown resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic, with the country seeing positive developments in industries such as chemicals and cosmetics.
Manufacturers have seized new opportunities to export to markets that have experienced disruptions in their supply chains. This has led to increased production of items like cleaning chemicals, sanitizers, masks, and OTC pharmaceuticals to meet local and international demand. Jamaica expects this manufacturing expansion to contribute significantly to its economic recovery effort in the next 5 years.
These developments support the island’s goal to be a manufacturing leader in the region. Its government has long highlighted the sector as an area for growth as a myriad of possibilities exist, and Jamaica is strategically located to easily access key markets like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, CARICOM and Latin America.
Jamaica has one of the most diverse manufacturing sectors in the Caribbean, ranging from large food-based manufacturing giants such as GraceKennedy Limited and Jamaica Producers Group, to a burgeoning “clean beauty” industry with companies like Ettenio and Irie Rock manufacturing hair and skin care for local and international consumers.
The manufacturing of medical devices, electronics, building materials, and product fitting and assembly are other activities taking place on the island. Contract manufacturing is also an emerging area, as companies seek to use the island as their manufacturing and export base. Jamaica benefits from preferential market access to several regions through trade agreements, further strengthening its position as an ideal contract manufacturing location.
Building on this strong manufacturing tradition, Jamaica’s trade and investment promotions agency, JAMPRO, says that the stage is set for more industries to grow, even with constraints created by the pandemic.
President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards, explained: “Jamaicans are resourceful, innovative, and committed, and because of that our manufacturing sector continues to find new ways to develop products that are in demand. There are difficulties, but there are opportunities, so the government has been working to give this sector the support it needs to thrive during the pandemic.”
At JAMPRO, this assistance has included engaging manufacturers and investors to produce more value-added goods. The organisation has ongoing initiatives that deliver business-matchmaking services, and facilitates the packaging and promotion of investment projects.
In collaboration with the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association Limited (JMEA), JAMPRO also provides education and awareness around important subjects like incentives, the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) framework, and regional and global trade agreements that are favourable for products manufactured in Jamaica. The aim is to enhance opportunities for persons to do business in the island.
Positive outlook for manufacturing
With recent global trends in nearshore manufacturing and increased consumption of goods, JAMPRO envisages that more manufacturing will be taking place in Jamaica.
Global health and lifestyle trends will fuel the production of high value goods such as Jamaican Black Castor Oil and its derivatives, and cosmetics made with natural ingredients. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR) the global cosmetics ingredients market, valued at US$30 Bn in 2020, is expected to attain a market value of US$51.6 Bn by 2030.
TMR also notes the rising popularity of natural/herbal cosmetics products, as these items are viewed as healthier alternatives. This creates an excellent opportunity for Jamaica, which currently grows several of the ingredients needed to manufacture these goods.
Reflecting on these trends, Berletta Henlon Forrester, Manager of Manufacturing and Mining at JAMPRO, stated: “Entrepreneurs can explore manufacturing beyond food and beverage, and diversify into health & beauty, packaging & paper, and household chemicals. These industries are supported by Jamaica’s capacity to provide an abundance of ingredients such as bamboo, castor, turmeric, aloe vera and cannabis, to name a few.”
To produce the ideal ecosystem for the success of the aforementioned industries, Jamaica is embarking on a National Five-Year Manufacturing Growth Strategy and is executing government reforms to improve the ease of doing business. This combination should foster the growth of manufacturing and strengthen the sector’s overall performance.
Forrester said: “This is the right time for ambitious manufacturers and investors, both large and small, to initiate their strategies towards Jamaica as the location for their manufacturing project. JAMPRO will be available, as always, to provide the necessary guidance and assistance.”
The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO)’s mission is to drive economic development through growth in investment and export. JAMPRO is an Agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce.