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Jamaica Cops Award At World Expo Dubai 2020

“From the beginning, Jamaica was touted as one of the outstanding pavilions in the Expo and “a must-visit” pavilion. This award confirms that those accolades were well deserved. The pavilion focused not on looking at any one element of Jamaica, but as a composite,” Ms. Gardner said

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Jamaica has left World Expo Dubai 2020 with an impressive showing by exceeding its visitor target and copping one of the 51 available participant awards.

The Jamaica Pavilion, which was located in the mobility district of the World Expo grounds with around 70 other pavilions, was given the bronze award for its pavilion design, which utilised shipping containers.

With a target of hosting one per cent of total Expo visitors, Commissioner General of the Jamaica Pavilion, Essie Gardner, told JIS News that the target was not only met but exceeded, as Jamaica hosted more than 320,000 of the Expo’s over 24 million visitors.

World Expo 2020 Dubai officially came to a close on March 31, 2022 after six months of world-class experiences and bringing together people from all over the world to create, collaborate and innovate in shaping the future.

The Expo was hosted under the theme ‘Connecting Minds and Creating the Future’ and categorised countries and their participation into three main districts – sustainability, mobility and opportunity.

“From the beginning, Jamaica was touted as one of the outstanding pavilions in the Expo and “a must-visit” pavilion. This award confirms that those accolades were well deserved. The pavilion focused not on looking at any one element of Jamaica, but as a composite,” Ms. Gardner said.

“Our culture permeated the entire pavilion. Persons who came into the pavilion got a very fresh outlook on Jamaica, and that resonated with them. So, the award really gives us another fillip to celebrate the strength of our brand, so we can leverage that to increase business to the destination,” she added.

The participant awards recognised three aspects of the pavilions – architecture and landscape, exhibition design, and theme interpretation – and the judges had a pool of 200 pavilions to examine.

The award was announced and distributed during the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Day Awards Ceremony on March 30 in the Jubilee Park on the Expo grounds.

Ms. Gardner said this nod from the World Expo overseers, the BIE, will bring further attention to Jamaica as a transhipment port and boost the country’s efforts to become the fourth global logistics hub.

The award will even attract participants to the World Free Zones Organization Conference, scheduled for June in Montego Bay, St. James, she added.

The bronze award for exhibition was the ‘icing on the cake’ for the Jamaican delegation as the Green Isle of the Indies proved to be little but ‘tallawah’ in attracting Expo visitors to the Jamaica Pavilion.

Besides giving Blue Mountain Coffee samples in a culture that loves coffee, Ms. Gardner said there were some other aspects of the pavilion that set Jamaica apart and attracted visitors.

“One of the things that kept getting rave commentary was the fact that our team engaged the people who visited the pavilion. It wasn’t a matter of coming in looking at things and leaving, we engaged persons. We spoke to people, they saw us as authentic Jamaicans and that we wanted to share our love of country with them, so that was also a pull,” Ms. Gardner said.

“We also had gift items that we offered everyone, and the media visibility which we have been getting also brought us to the attention of the public, and so they wanted to see what all the commentary was about,” she noted.

From October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, visitors were able to experience the culture, cuisine and music of Jamaica while learning about the history, contribution to sports, tourism and business opportunities that reside in the island.

Source JIS

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Businessuite News24

EXIM Bank Earmarks JA$100 Million to Assist SMEs Expansion Online

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PHOTO: MARK BELL
Managing Director, National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank), Lisa Bell (left), and Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Kamesha Blake, display a folder with the partnership agreement signed by both organisations for the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’, to assist small and medium-sized enterprises, on Friday (September 16), at the Bank’s headquarters in St. Andrew. Observing is Business Development Consultant, EXIM Bank, Winston Lawson.

 

The National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (EXIM Bank) has earmarked $100 million for an e-commerce fund to assist small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in expanding their businesses online.

Through a partnership with the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’ will finance up to 80 per cent of the associated costs of critical inputs for SMEs which are in the process of or are interested in trading through an e-commerce platform.

The facility offers up to $5 million per entity, at a rate of five per cent per annum. It is a medium-term, non-revolving, secured loan, with up to three months moratorium on the principal repayments, where required.

During the launch on Friday (September 16), at the EXIM Bank’s headquarters on Hope Road, St. Andrew, Business Development Consultant, Winston Lawson, said while there are “vast and potentially impactful advantages” of operating a business in the virtual space, the inputs that drive sales may require funding.

These inputs, he noted, include: the relevant equipment and systems; registration of a domain; server setup; hosting services; development of a website and security features; high quality product shots and videos for website catalogue; establishment of payment gateways; search engine optimisation and online marketing, and copywriting and inventory management.

Mr. Lawson said it is hoped that the new facility will increase export sales and upgrade the SMEs’ e-commerce platforms to reach global markets.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sancia Bennett Templer, for her part, endorsed the initiative, stating that “we fully support funding for e-commerce.”

“It is clearly part of the broad ecosystem that the Prime Minister [the Most Hon. Andrew Holness] speaks about in terms of making Jamaica a digital economy,” she said.

Mrs. Bennett Templer noted that the Ministry continues to work on various programmes geared towards MSMEs and technology, in addition to the efforts of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to support the digitisation of the country’s small business sector.

Managing Director, EXIM Bank, Lisa Bell, who also welcomed the “glorious partnership”, said the institution’s intention is to offer support to SMEs in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, where consumer patterns have changed globally.

In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer, JMEA, Kamesha Blake, congratulated the EXIM Bank for providing alternative financial solutions and niche products to drive business expansion and economic growth in Jamaica.

Financing under the ‘EXIM Ecommerce Funder’ are accessible directly from the EXIM Bank, and the customary standings for business lending will be upheld.

For more information, persons can contact the bank through their website: www.eximbankja.com.

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Businessuite News24

Government Of Jamaica Invests $200 Million in Irish Potato and Onion Production Project

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PHOTO: ADRIAN WALKER
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (second right), displays potatoes from this year’s crop as he listens to a point being made by Coordinator of the National Irish Potato and Onion Programme, Locksley Waites (left). Occasion was the launch of the 2022 National Irish Potato and Onion Programme in Guy’s Hill, St. Catherine, on August 31. Also pictured are (from left) Member of Parliament, St. Mary Western, Robert Montague; Member of Parliament for St. Catherine North East, Kerensia Morrison; and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Winston Simpson.

 

The Government is investing $200 million in the national Irish potato and onion programme, to increase the hectares under production and to improve yields of these crops.

The sum of $150 million has been allocated for the Irish potato programme, while $50 million will be invested in onion production.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., said for the upcoming planting season, the intention is to target expansion of the programme in the traditional growing areas of Clarendon, St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth, Trelawny and St. Thomas.

“Our goal is to see if we can get 50 per cent more production in onion. We doubled our target last year and we want to get 50 per cent more this year, and for potato we are on our way to exceeding the 70 per cent that we achieved last year,” he noted.

The Minister was addressing farmers and other stakeholders at the launch of the 2022 National Irish Potato and Onion Programme in Guy’s Hill, St. Catherine, on August 31.

Seeds will be made available to the farmers by mid-October for the planting season.

“We are targeting 1,500 acres of land which is going to be a 20 per cent increase over the last year’s planting season,” Minister Charles Jr. informed.

He urged farmers to contact the RADA offices to have their first acre of land prepared free of cost under the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ production programme.

Additionally, in keeping with the promised support to assist new farmers with land preparation through a special incentive programme valued at $63 million, the first tranche of $20 million has been issued by the Ministry to RADA. Other support provided includes backhoes and fertiliser, among other things.

Coordinator of the National Irish Potato and Onion Programme, Locksley Waites, said the target for this year is a minimum of 24,000 tonnes.

“We will have to put more land into production. We are vigorously trying to find new acreage in the Guy’s Hill, Mavis Bank, Darliston, and Manchester belts,” he told JIS News.

The national Irish potato and onion programme has created approximately 40,000 employment opportunities within the sector.

The Irish potato programme, which commenced in 2008, is aimed at satisfying 100 per cent of the estimated demand of 17,000 tonnes annually.

For the 2021 to 2022 period, 70 per cent of national demand was achieved, eliminating the need for importation of the food staple since November 2021.

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Invest Jamaica

Inside Barita’s Proprietary Investment Strategy

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Mark Myers Chairman Barita Investments Limited (“Barita” or “the Group”) provide investors with an insight into their very successful investment strategy, as outlined in their recently released unaudited financial statements for the nine months of the financial year 2022.

Investment Strategy
Barita’s proprietary investment strategy has been characterized during the post-acquisition period by a focus on the pursuit of differential value through complementing our traditional business lines and exposures with a funding base containing lower than typical leverage and by making strategic allocations to alternative investments.

Low Leverage:
Between March 2019 and September 2021, Barita raised $34.5 billion in permanent equity capital between two (2) Rights Issues ($9.2 billion), two (2) Additional Public Offers (“APOs”) ($24.3 billion) and a Non-Redeemable Non-Cumulative Preference Shares ($1 billion). Our leverage of less than half the industry average and capital to risk weighted assets ratio of more than 4 times minimum regulatory requirments has served as a significant defensive feature in the face of several periods of market stress which have characterised the post-pandemic period. This has also positioned Barita well to take advantage of price dislocations which have also been a recurrent feature of the post pandemic period.

Allocations to Alternative Investments:
The period that has followed the economic and financial market downturn brought on by the 2008/2009 financial crisis has been characterized by a largely uninterrupted cycle of rising prices in most traditional risk assets driven substantially by the effects of unprecedented global monetary policy.

This situation has informed the pursuit of an investment strategy which attempts to complement the typical higher beta exposures provided by traditional assets with an allocation to specific segments of the alternative investment universe. We have defined the focus areas of our alternative investment strategy as spanning real estate, private credit, private equity and infrastructure.

Over the last 18 months, we have taken several foundational steps towards establishing a suite of portfolios/vehicles via which both Barita and the investing public can gain varying forms of exposure to the targeted asset classes in an efficient manner. This has involved the sourcing, evaluation, and selection of seed portfolio assets as well as the structuring of investment vehicles and the attendant seed funding thereto. The most advanced strategies across the four lanes in order of capital deployed are real estate, private credit and private equity with our infrastructure-based strategy expected to make more progress in FY2023.

Real Estate Strategy
During 03 FY 2022 we achieved a material milestone in relation to our real estate focused strategy as we offered access to the portfolio of prime real estate that we have been accumulating via the managed special purpose vehicle, MJR Real Estate Holdings Limited (“MJR”), to our clients via the Barita Real Estate Portfolio Unit Trust Fund.

MJR presently has over 1,900 acres of real estate in its pipeline for development. The entity’s strategy targets the acquisition of undervalued real property with clear opportunities for material value-add through infrastructure development, repurposing and/or construction, and the stimulation of foreign direct investments into Jamaica and the region.

The real estate in MJR’s portfolio has a range of applications to include residential, commercial, light industrial and hotel/residential projects. MJR is presently in the acquisition phase of its life cycle following which the company will be moving into the development phase starting in FY 2023. The development phase will involve Barita as investment manager engaging technical and financial partners to develop its properties.

An example of Barita’s approach through MJR is the intended development of the 250+ acre property, Reggae Beach. Located in Prospect St. Mary, Reggae Beach is intended to be transformed into a multifaceted development with high end resort, luxury villa and hospitality applications to the seaside twinned with residential and commercial services to include a town centre. It is intended for the development of this property to add further vitality to the community through the significant investment it will attract from the hospitality sector coupled with the attendant commercial and residential needs the hospitality services will necessitate. The development of the property is anticipated to transform the community’s environs and create and sustain thousands of jobs in various sectors for ordinary Jamaicans which holds true to our ethos as a Company.

There are several tailwinds to the planned development in our view, to include the continued return of international travel, the expansion of flights to the Ian Fleming International Airport, which is in close proximity to the property, and the dynamism of the topography of the land which augurs well for a landmark development.

Private Credit & Private Equity Strategies

Year-to-date in FY 2022 Barita has originated/sourced and deployed approximately $5 billion into private credit investments which have provided the company with equity type returns and have served as a source of resilience in our overall credit portfolio in the face of rising interest rates. Barita has identified several avenues through which the value embedded in these exposures can be realized and, in a similar way to our real estate strategy, we intend to make some elements of these strategies available to the investing public over time.

As we outlined in our FY 2021 annual report, we see our mandate as being an effective conduit through which investment opportunities are efficiently sourced and structured to serve as a key enabler to economic development even as we build capacity to satisfy the investment objectives of our customers. This mandate has informed the company’s decision to construct a funding profile which is overweight in equity capital relative to the typical broker-dealer operating in Jamaica. Higher capital ratios complemented by lower leverage afford Barita greater capability to execute on its investment strategy including the prudent management of idiosyncratic risks related to alternative investments.

See also

Barita Looking To A Future Built On A New Digital Platform As It Seeks To Be Resolute In Making Barita More Accessible, Convenient And Customer Focused.

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Businessuite News24

Grant of US$20 Million to Support Local Spice Industry

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PHOTO: YHOMO HUTCHINSON
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (left), listens to United States Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, during the diplomat’s visit to the Ministry’s office.

 

Jamaica’s spice industry is to be amplified by a US$20-million grant from the United States (US), through its Department of Agriculture, over the course of five years.

The grant will be disbursed under the ‘Food for Progress’ programme and comes against the background of exponential growth of the spice industry in the US, especially as it concerns ginger, turmeric and pimento.

The initiative will, therefore, target the marketing and development of products (such as packaging) and will promote sustainable and climate-friendly farming to yield best results.

Jamaica is one of 10 countries this year to be selected for the grant, which will be awarded this month.

US Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, made the disclosure during a recent courtesy call on the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston.

Mr. Perry noted that the grant will benefit Jamaican small farmers and that the many health benefits of turmeric and ginger are amongst the reasons for the demand.

“The health food industry in the United States is certainly looking for imports that will feed into the demand. I am sure that this will be a good investment for the United

States and for Jamaican farmers to benefit from our relationship,” Mr. Perry said.

In the meantime, Mr. Charles Jr. welcomed the grant and said that the rationale behind it ties into the national ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ campaign.

“It’s a campaign to connect the thinking around greater efficiencies in agricultural operation and the strategic and deliberate consumption of products that are going to be more nutritious, particularly at a time when we are trying to achieve food security, so the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ [movement] really embraces this grant,” he said.

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Businessuite News24

JAMPRO Promotes Bankable Logistics Projects At AICE 2022

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President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards, says that her Agency is promoting several bankable logistics investment projects that will boost the development of Jamaica’s economy.

Ms. Edwards made the comments today while discussing Jamaican investment opportunities at the AICE 2022 conference in Montego Bay, which is being hosted by the World Free Zones Organization and the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA). The Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce has strongly supported the event, which has attracted many international and local investors.

Participants at AICE 2022 meet during the conference in the JAMPRO facilitated B2B meeting area.

JAMPRO is highlighting several projects at AICE 2022 for investment, including the Caymanas Special Economic Zone and the Vernamfield Aerotropolis. Ms. Edwards explained that the Agency sees Logistics as the future of Jamaica’s economy, and it is focused on securing investors who are ready to do business in the sector.

She said, “Strengthening and diversifying the logistics sector will transform Jamaica; it is therefore critical for JAMPRO to participate in fora such as this one to engage investors who are looking at the island as a potential destination for their next venture. We believe that Jamaica is the best location to invest, so JAMPRO is committed to working with our private and public sector partners to see more logistics projects coming to fruition.”

JAMPRO is an agency of the Ministry of Investment, Industry, and Commerce.

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