KINGSTON, Jamaica – The commitment to enhance trade between Jamaica and Africa remains resolute, says Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Aubyn Hill.
“We recognise that while we do not yet have a bilateral agreement that speaks specifically to trade between Africa and Jamaica, we believe that there are profitable opportunities for trade and investment in tourism that can be of significant value,” Hill said.
He was speaking at the Africa-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum, held at the Regional Headquarters, University of the West Indies, Mona on Wednesday, February 8.
It was held under the theme ‘Key Strategies for Trading and Investing in Africa, Highlighting Opportunities in Sierra Leone’.
Hill noted that trade between the regions has been limited, although Jamaica has exported aluminium, bauxite, and other minerals, while importing petroleum and food products from Sierra Leone.
He stated that Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has been strategic in pursuing a viable economic relationship with Africa.
The minister said in March 2021, Marjorie Grant Fuller was appointed Ambassador and Special Envoy to Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Togo,
“Her appointment is another step by this Administration to deepen relations with Africa and specifically identify opportunities for enhancing trade and investment in support of Jamaica’s economic development,” Hill argued.
Meanwhile, Hill said Sierra Leone and Jamaica have traditional economies and have benefited from the mining and agricultural sectors.
“Admittedly, there are some challenges to expanding trade with Sierra Leone that will need to be examined and addressed, as we pursue deepened linkages. The infrastructural challenges, coupled with logistic issues may make it difficult for local businesses to enter and sustain their presence in Sierra Leone,” Hill noted.
“However, difficulties abound around the world, and we still have to trade. That requires a commitment of will on the part of both countries if trade and investment opportunities are to be seriously explored. I am prepared to put in the work to find mutually beneficial and sustainable avenues to increase our exports and bilateral trade between the two countries,” he added.
Former Prime Minister, P J Patterson, said it is imperative for “us in the Caribbean to move [from] talking about the importance of trading and investing in Africa, to taking the practical steps which are required to do so”.
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