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Top 10 Jamaica Business News Stories of 2015

Top 10 Jamaica Business News 2015
Written by StephanieK

Jamaica’s business environment was singled out for having the highest percentage of women managers of any country in the world, although it was also criticized for the growing pay gap in the wage amounts received by male and female workers. Jamaica’s stock exchange had a rousing year, outperforming exchanges around the world, growing by 80 percent. The employment partnership between Canada and Jamaica added billions to the island’s economy, and the government decided to allow large investors to buy Jamaican citizenship and receive special immigration status.  The government also extended copyright protection to creative works to 95 years from when they are first made available to protect individual rights. Xerox made a significant investment in Jamaica by going ahead with plans to built three call centers in New Kingston, while China displayed its significant interest in the island by funding a major north-south highway project designed to reduce travel time between Ocho Rios and Kingston. Jamaican researcher Dr. Henry Lowe obtained addition support via patents and agreements to continue his work on cancer cures derived from indigenous island plants. And medical tourism gained support as a viable sector for Jamaica’s economic growth.

WORLD’S HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN MANAGERS FOUND IN JAMAICA
The International Labor Organization (ILO) found that Jamaica has the highest percentage of women managers of anywhere in the world. It surpasses the United States and the United Kingdom in its portion of women managers. The ILO also found that women are under-represented at top management levels, but the number of women in senior and middle management roles has increased over the past 20 years.

JAMAICA-CANADA EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM ADDS J$1.7 BILLION TO ISLAND ECONOMY
Derrick Kellier, Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture, Labor and Social Security, announced that the joint Jamaica-Canada Employment Program brings in millions in remittance inflows to the country. In 2014, the program added $15.5 million Canadian, or about J$1.7 billion, to Jamaica’s economy. In addition to its role as a critical source of foreign exchange funds, the program offers hope and opportunity for many Jamaicans.

PROGRAM ALLOWING INVESTORS TO BUY CITIZENSHIP FINALIZED
Jamaica’s chief investment vehicle, JAMPRO, announced the implementation of a program that will allow wealthy foreigners to buy Jamaican citizenship. Individuals who make major investments in the nation will be given a special immigration status. The program was finalized with the help of Christian Kalin, a Swiss attorney who handled similar programs for St. Kitts and Nevus, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda.

XEROX ANNOUNCED EXPANSION OF CALL CENTER BUSINESS IN NEW KINGSTON
Xerox initiated plans to expand its business in Kingston by adding three new call centers, which will bring an estimated 860 jobs to its new facilities in Pawsey Road, Grenada Way and Haining Road. Xerox is also taking 25,000 square feet of leased space at Barnett Tech Park in Montego Bay as part of its island expansion, creating another 450 jobs. In total, the firm will add approximately 7,000 new jobs on the island over all.

95-YEAR COPYRIGHT PROTECTION APPROVED BY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Jamaica’s House of Representatives approved increasing the copyright protection period for creative works used in the country to 95 years after they become available. Under the new rule, copyright protections for local creative works was increased to 95 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was first made available and will apply to creative works including sound recordings, film, broadcasts and cable programs, and performer’s rights.

HENRY LOWE RECEIVES ANOTHER U.S. PATENT FOR CANCER TREATMENT

Dr Henry Lowe

Dr. Henry Lowe

Dr. Henry Lowe, Jamaican scientist and cancer researcher, was granted a fourth patent from the United States Patent Office. The patent involves a prostate cancer treatment based on compounds derived from the extract of Ball Moss, an indigenous Jamaican plant that is also known as Old Man’s Beard. Dr. Lowe and his team of researchers have been working with the plant for about ten years. Dr. Lowe also signed a licensing agreement with the University of Maryland Ventures that allows his company, Educational and Scientific LLC exclusive rights to license its interest in the development of a molecule with anti-cancer properties for commercial use. The molecule was discovered jointly by Lowe’s firm and the University of Maryland, Baltimore and has the potential for treating lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

JAMAICA MADE STRIDES IN EXPLOITING MARKET FOR MEDICAL TOURISM
An agreement between the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation and the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) enhanced the nation’s potential for success in the medical tourism market. Under the agreement, JANAAC connections with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) will now include medical laboratory accreditation under the International Standardization Organization (ISO) Standard 15189. This permits use and acceptance of accredited medical test data and test results worldwide, which in turn give Jamaica greater recognition of the quality and reliability of its medical facilities.

LARGE INVESTMENT IN JAMAICAN HIGHWAY JUST THE START FOR CHINA

Jamaica Highway Project

Jamaica Highway Project

The highway connecting north and south Jamaica is the largest investment yet made by China in the Caribbean, and experts believe it signals more investments to come. Dubbed the “Beijing Highway,” it will be over 41 miles long and feature luxury hotels all along the way. Built at a cost of $600 million, the highway indicates that China is a major force in regional investment. The highway is meant to reduce travel time between Ocho Rios and Kingston from almost two hours to just 50 minutes.

PAY GAP BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN IN JAMAICA INCREASES
The Global Gender Gap Report for 2015 found that women in Jamaica receive 60 percent of the pay provided to men. For every $100 received by a male worker in Jamaica, a woman receives just $60. Jamaica ranked 65th among the 145 nations included in the report, one of the worst rankings in the Caribbean. Average annual pay for women in Jamaica totaled US$6,730 (J$800,880), compared to US$11,109 (J$1.3 million) for men.

JAMAICA’S STOCK EXCHANGE SURGES OVER 80 PERCENT

Jamaica Stock Market Up

Jamaica Stock Market Up

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) showed gains of more than 80 percent in 2015. In spite of IMF restrictions, individual and institutional investors were not deterred from putting money into local stocks during 2015. The block trades of just four companies on the JSE totaled nearly $1 billion in a single week of trading. Vice-president of investor relations at the Bank of New York Mellon Carl Bennett said he was “really impressed” with the ability of the JSE to attract capital to the market, making special mention of the measures implemented to fight insider trading and manipulation of the market.

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StephanieK