Caribbean & Central American Countries of the Future 2015/16

Jamaica’s leading efforts

The Caribbean island nation of Jamaica takes the top prize for FDI strategy among the Caribbean and Central American countries. Jamaica’s Trade and Investment agency (Jampro) laid out its commitment to improving the conditions for foreign investors, which means donor agencies work with Jampro to provide sponsored training and activities for staff, fostering professional development that will ultimately benefit investors. 

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Agency employees also enjoy the benefits of job rotation, allowing them to gain knowledge and experience of other areas of the business, of other job functions and in other departments. This results in a workforce with a wealth of expertise to offer potential investors and help them to achieve their goals.

To attract potential investors to Jamaica’s shores, Jampro introduced the ‘shovel-ready investment programme’, an initiative focused on stimulating and expediting investment in the target sectors of tourism, agro-business, BPO and manufacturing. Investment packages are drawn up as part of the initiative so that by the time of engagement with prospective investors, many of the development processes and bureaucracy have already been addressed. 

The aim of the initiative is to cut red tape for the investor and shorten the timescale for completing the project. Performance-based financial incentives are also offered to investors, with the aim of reducing import costs and corporate income tax. The agency also focuses on digital marketing strategy, integrating its website with direct marketing and social media efforts, as well as its business blog and PR activities.

Trinidad and Tobago’s activities abroad

InvesTT, Trinidad and Tobago’s investment promotion agency, boosts its effectiveness by routinely sending staff for best-practice training at similar agencies, including ProNicaragua and InvestHK. 

The agency is also establishing a presence abroad, recently opening an office in Japan and considering offices in South Korea, China and the Middle East region. InvesTT’s overseas missions and attendance at international events keep Trinidad and Tobago on the radars of potential investors.

Emigrants are encouraged to promote their home country as part of InvesTT’s diaspora strategy. Digital marketing takes places via a dedicated website, digital marketing campaigns, an e-newsletter and social media targeted at an audience of possible investors.

Dominican Republic in third place

The Export and Investment Centre for the Dominican Republic provides a one-stop shop where all investment processes are made more efficient for investors. All government services are located here to make dealing with licences, permits and certificates less time consuming. 

Two years since its inauguration, the centre has realised investment projects worth more than $2bn, which have created over 14,500 jobs. As a further incentive to investors, the time it takes to acquire a building permit has been cut from 60 to 45 days. The centre recently restructured and updated its website, which now features an official investment guide and a promotional video.

The Dominican Republic’s National Free Zones Council established free-trade agreements with major economies, including the US and the EU, making doing business in the country more attractive and cost-effective for investors. The council also employs a social media engagement strategy through search engine optimisation for its website, making it visible for enquiring investors.