Jamaican News

Jamaican Diaspora’s Economic Contribution Stands at 14% of GDP, States Minister of State Terrelonge

The Jamaican Diaspora’s pivotal role in the country’s economic landscape and development agenda has been underscored by Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Alando Terrelonge. Speaking at a recent Diplomatic Day event in downtown Kingston, Minister Terrelonge revealed that the diaspora’s contributions now stand at a remarkable 14% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Minister Terrelonge highlighted that the diaspora’s substantial economic impact primarily stems from remittances, totaling US$3.4 billion in 2021, predominantly from the United States and other countries. Beyond financial support, overseas Jamaicans have significantly contributed to crucial sectors such as healthcare and education.

During the period from April 1 to October 31, 2023, the diaspora channeled $93.8 million towards the health sector, with $4.3 million specifically allocated to the Adopt-A-Clinic Programme from three diaspora locations. Additionally, the education sector received a noteworthy boost, with US$24.6 million in support during the 2019/2020 financial year, attributed to alumni associations and diaspora-affiliated churches.

Emphasizing the government’s recognition of the diaspora’s importance, Minister Terrelonge highlighted the recently adopted National Diaspora Policy, which prioritizes a comprehensive approach to nation-building, acknowledging the diaspora as a critical partner in Jamaica’s development journey.

Formal engagement platforms have been established to strengthen ties between the government and the diaspora, including the biennial Diaspora Conferences. The upcoming 10th conference, slated for June 16 to 19, 2024, in Montego Bay, St. James, serves as a testament to the commitment to enhancing collaboration and harnessing the diaspora’s potential.

Inclusivity and youth empowerment are core principles in engaging with the diaspora, with initiatives such as the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council and the Global Jamaica Diaspora Youth Council playing instrumental roles in furthering Jamaica’s developmental objectives.

The Jamaican Diaspora’s multifaceted contributions, ranging from financial remittances to investments in healthcare and education, exemplify a profound commitment to the nation’s prosperity and development. Minister Terrelonge’s remarks underscore the government’s unwavering commitment to fostering collaboration with the diaspora, recognizing it as a cornerstone of Jamaica’s economic and social fabric. As preparations for the 10th Diaspora Conference gain momentum, anticipation builds for renewed partnerships and initiatives aimed at driving sustainable progress for Jamaica and its people.

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