Jamaica’s economy is mainly based on tourism, bauxite and aluminum production, bananas and sugar. In the 1970s, the authorities sought to create a more socialist society, with land reforms, nationalizations and more welfare schemes, etc. on the program. Growing financial problems, however, put an end to this experiment, and to overcome the financial problems. the substantial government debt and high inflation, a tight monetary and fiscal policy was subsequently implemented, privatization of state enterprises.
A large proportion of the population lives below the poverty line and the country has a relatively low purchasing power domestic market, which hinders economic development. Other problem areas are a poorly developed infrastructure, drug traffic and corruption. In addition, low prices on the world market come for the important products bauxite and aluminum, as well as the lack of new investment and unstable weather conditions affecting sugar and coffee production. However, a bright spot in the economy is a positive development in the tourism industry. In 2003, service industries contributed just over 60% of both GDP and employment.
Jamaica flag source: Countryaah.com
In 2002, agriculture (including fisheries) contributed just over 5% of GDP and employed just under 20% of the working population. Agriculture still plays an important, but declining, role in the country’s economy. Agriculture has repeatedly been severely hit by devastation associated with hurricanes. by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, when nearly 2/3 of coffee crops were destroyed.
Most of the cultivated land belongs to plantations, and approx. 75% of farmers are small farmers. Both small and large farms produce for export. Sugarcane is the most important export growth, and is grown especially on the coastal plains. Raw sugar production was 153,540 tonnes in 2003 (against 355,000 tonnes in 1975). Other important sales growths are bananas, which are especially grown on the humid northeast coast, as well as citrus fruits, coffee and cocoa. Some spices are also grown; Jamaica is the world’s largest producer of all kinds. For local consumption, i.e. corn, root vegetables (sweet potatoes, yams, cassava), tobacco and coconuts. It encourages the cultivation of rice and fruit, both to reduce food imports and to vary agricultural exports. Jamaica is not self-sufficient with food grains and other basic foods. Goats, cattle and pigs are most important in animal husbandry.
Timber production in 2001 was 874,000 m. Forest covered 16% of Jamaica’s total area in 2000. This was a decrease from 23.5% ten years earlier. Deforestation in the country is happening at a pace that is among the highest in the world. Fishing has little economic significance
Jamaica is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bauxite. Bauxite is the most important raw material in aluminum production. Production of bauxite (13.4 million tonnes in 2003) and alumina contributed in 2003 with approx. 65% of the country’s total export revenue. Employment is of less importance to the industry; Mining in 2003 employed only 0.4% of the working population.
Limestone, some plaster and marble are also mined. Gold deposits.
The industry is largely based on the processing of bauxite and agricultural raw materials, especially sugar. The manufacture of food and beverages and tobacco accounts for approx. 70% of total industrial production. Especially in the metropolitan area, a versatile consumer goods industry has grown, where the products range from textiles and footwear to metal products and building materials. However, parts of this industry face strong competition from cheap imports of goods from low-cost countries in Asia.
In an effort to promote industrial development, economic fronts have been established at Kingston, Montego Bay and Spanish Town, aimed at establishing foreign companies. However, the new industries have been less able to improve the economic situation in the country. In 2003, the industry (including mining) contributed just over 30% of GDP and employed approx. 18% of the working population.
Tourism makes an important contribution to the economy. The industry is sometimes hit by periods of political and social turmoil. In 2003–04, 1.4 million tourists visited the island, excluding cruise ship tourists. About. 70% of tourists come from the United States. Most tourist destinations are along the north coast; in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio are a number of luxury hotels
Since the mid-1970s, Jamaica has had a trade deficit abroad. The imbalance is due to both reduced prices of the country’s export products (bauxite and sugar) and rising imports. At the same time, the dramatic devaluation of the country’s currency in the first half of the 1980s increased import costs. Exports, which were previously dominated by sugar and bananas, now consist primarily of alumina and bauxite (8%). In 2003, sugar accounted for only 5% of exports.
Jamaica is a member of the Caribbean common market CARICOM, but the main buyer of exports is the United States, then Canada and the United Kingdom. Other EU countries and Norway are also important recipients of exports. Main import goods are machinery and transport equipment, fuel, chemicals, food and various consumables. The majority of imports come from the United States (44%), secondly from CARICOM countries and elsewhere in Latin America.
In the latter part of the 1980s, it was estimated that the value of illegal marijuana trafficking (both domestic and transit sales) exceeded the value of all legal exports.
Transport and Communications
The island has a relatively well-developed road network that follows the coast around the island, which cuts through the island in the north-south direction where the mountains make it possible. A smaller railway, approx. 200 km, Kingston connects with Montego Bay on the northwest coast, and with Port Antonio on the northeast coast. International airports can be found at Palisadoes (Norman Manley) 22 km outside Kingston and at Montego Bay (Sangster). Main port cities are Kingston, Montego Bay and Port Antonia.