A land of global sports icons, Jamaica has designed a special economic zone (SEZ) to better nurture and grow its sports talents beyond track and fields.
“Olympus Sports City is clearly about Olympic disciplines,” minister Aubyn Hill tells fDi on the sidelines of the AICE 2022 event, organised by the World Free Zones Organization and taking place in Montego Bay, Jamaica in June 13–16.
“We have a lot of sports talent, but we don’t have the facilities. So now we are launching Olympus to create facilities for basketball, football, track and field and cricket.” The project is to extend 694 acres and includes the Trelawny cricket stadium that was developed for the world cup in 2007.
The government will bring all the utilities to the gates, Mr Hill says, for developers to come in and build the facilities and eventually sell them to the operators, which will be working under an SEZ regime.
Olympus Sports City is part of a programme of new SEZs designed by the Jamaican government to increase investment and attractiveness. It will add to the five SEZs that are already up and running, and will mostly focus on business process outsourcing businesses. The plan also features tech park West77, the biotech-focused Pandora SEZ and Xanadu, an SEZ focused on the entertainment industry.
The government is also keen to promote the development of the Caymanas SEZ adjacent to the Kingston Container Terminal concessioned for 30 years to French shipping firm CMA CGM in 2015.
The IDB expects that nearshoring can add $78bn in exports of services and goods originating in Latin American and Caribbean countries and the Caymanas SEZ specifically is meant to seize the nearshoring opportunity for Jamaica. However, the project has been in the drawing room for several years and — according to Alok Jain, a consultant to the prime minister and a board member at the Caymanas SEZ — “a lot depends on what happens here [at AICE22]” as the government tries to build momentum for the zone.