Economic “Clusters” in Jamaica?

Above: Jamaica (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

It may be time to create economic “cliusters” to spur growth in Jamaica, according to Densil Williams, Professor of International Business and Executive Director of the Mona School of Business Management at the University of the West Indies.

Williams, who was addressing the Western Jamaica Economic Forum this week, said creating such clusters would bring “immense benefits to the business sector and ultimately the country.”

“Those of us who follow the development debates and see where economic developments are going, what we would have recognized is that the developmental trajectory has moved from this broad based broad brush approach and what they are now focusing on are what they call economic zones,” he said. “These zones are helping countries to become more vibrant players in the wider global sphere.”

A start would be by creating a “proper transportation link” between Jamaica’s two economic centres, Kingston and Montego Bay, where 70 percent of the country’s population lives.

“The thinkers in western Jamaica, who are liaising with the thinkers who frame policies for Jamaica, are to start thinking seriously about creating special economic zones within the western hemisphere,” he said.

And any proposed cluster should be focused around the leading money earner in the region — tourism.

““We have a good stock of hotel rooms, we have the ports, we have educational institutions …we have a lot of infrastructure that is already offering the services that can be provided to the rest of the world,” he said.