Thursday, 28 June 2012 12:27
After much demand from the Jamaica Diaspora for greater involvement in the island's development, a new program has been launched to survey interest for a Jamaican Diaspora investment bond.
A team from the World Bank and the Jamaican Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance met with several local Jamaican-American business operators in South Florida to discuss local interest in a Diaspora investment bond project. The focus group was hosted by the Jamaican Consulate General in Miami and the Jamaican Diaspora Southern USA.
Healthcare and education were identified as the main areas of interest for investment by the South Florida focus group. The group also communicated their general support for the proposed bond, based on a fair time frame, regulated oversight and return on investment.
In addition to exploring interest in the investment bond, the exploratory group also sought to collect an official profile of the Jamaican Diaspora, to create a defined role for the group in the country's development
The project was initially proposed at the inaugural 2004 National Diaspora Conference held in Kingston. The investment bond exploratory team is also conducting similar survey sessions with other Jamaica Diaspora groups in New York, Toronto and England.
Following the responses from this preliminary research, some reports have suggested that a Diaspora bond will be release as early as August of this year.
The proposed bond also hopes to boost much needed revenue for the government, particularly during an unpopular authority budget. In February, the Jamaican government collected only US$400 million at eight percent on the international market. The amount stands as the lowest on record.
During the government's last round into the international capital market in February last year, it raised US$400 million at eight per cent — the lowest on record. In contrast, last year alone the Jamaica Diaspora sent close to US$2 billion in remittances. Meanwhile, the Diaspora also has been saving up. Some estimates claim the group produces US$5.4 billion in annual savings – an amount worth almost 40 percent of Jamaica's GDP.