The Economy of Jamaica
A Quick Overview

The economy of Jamaica is well diversified and no longer depends on any one sector. Services alone account for over 65% of revenues to this island.

While tourism, remittances and bauxite account for over 25% of the Gross Domestic Product (G.D.P.), other industries such as banking, agriculture, sports, construction, manufacturing, and real estate play an equally important role in the development of the economy of Jamaica.

On this page, you will become familiar with the Jamaican economy, and learn why despite a stigma of crime, Jamaica has attracted millions of dollars in investment and remains one of the best Caribbean countries to invest in for the long-term.


Despite the global recession, tourism has continued to grow by at least 4% every year. Tourism accounts for 25% of jobs in Jamaica and 10% of the GDP.

Along with remittances, tourism is tied for the top foreign exchange earner and in 2012, tourism contributed close to US$4 billion dollars to the economy of Jamaica.

This revenue comes from the more than 3 million visitors worldwide, with travellers from U.S.A., Europe and Canada leading the way that travel to Jamaica. Tourism products such as hotels, attractions, music, food, and culture are the main draw.

Our tourism product shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. There are hundreds of attractions island wide with every parish having its own share of attractions and hotels.


The number one foreign exchange earner in Jamaica comes from remittances. Since 2011, revenue from remittances has surpassed US$2 billion every year, and despite the economic downturn around the world, foreign exchange that is sent back to Jamaica increases every year.

The majority of the remittances are sent to Jamaica from USA, UK, Canada and the Cayman Islands through Western Union, Money Gram and JN Money Transfer.


Jamaica has the perfect weather that is conducive to agricultural production; in fact, we were once the world leader in the exportation of sugar and banana.

Sugarcane, banana, coffee, pimento, tobacco, ginger and corn are just a few of the top products exported by Jamaica over the last 100 years.

Rum, a by-product of sugarcane, is a major export from Jamaica; in fact, you may have heard about Appleton Estate Rum.

Jamaica was not always a tourism driven business. At one point, there was consistently a leading agricultural product, whether it was sugar cane, bananas or pimento.

Farming is the leading occupation in the rural areas. Today, 20% of the Jamaican workforce is employed through agriculture. Majority of the work is self-employed, especially in the rural area.

With the right amount of investment, the economy of Jamaica can once again flourish to great heights of pre-independence, especially through agriculture.


Jamaica is the third largest supplier of bauxite. The global recession has significantly affected the export of bauxite.

The demand for bauxite is very high because there are also mineable deposits of gypsum, marble, silica, sand, and clays.

A few bauxite plants have closed over the last five years but the demand overseas has increased. Right now, Jamaica needs foreign investment to continue in this area of production.

                                    The Banking Sector

Did you know that Jamaica offers some of the best interest rates of savings and fixed deposit accounts for both local and foreign companies?

The banking sector has grown tremendously since the 1990s. All major banks have posted record breaking revenues year after year.

Popular banks in Jamaica include Scotia Bank, National Commercial Bank, First Caribbean International Bank, Victoria Mutual Bank, RBC Royal Bank, JMMB, First Global Bank, and EXIM Bank.

Other financial institutions include credit unions, building societies, foreign exchange traders, loan agencies, and investment companies.

Jamaica has some of the best investment and saving rates around the world today.

                              Doing Business in Jamaica

Doing business in Jamaica is fairly easy that is why so many persons come here to start a business. Special low interest rate loans are available to foreign investors, and permits are not difficult to obtain.

Every year, we attract many investors because of the diversified Jamaican economy, and the several ways, there are available to earn revenue.

Hotels, construction companies, and attractions are known to receive tax breaks and lower custom duties to make starting a business here easier.


Digicel Jamaica is the number-one cell phone provider in Jamaica with over two million subscribers and Cable and Wireless Jamaica a distant second with close to one million subscribers.

Both companies have revolutionised the economy of Jamaica with the way that we currently do business. International calling plans, local calling plans, and reliable Internet connection and speed.

Cable and Wireless Limited and Flow Jamaica are leading the charge to make the Internet more accessible in Jamaica.

                             Real Estate and Construction

Jamaica is the perfect destination to invest in real estate. The value on the houses always appreciates despite the global recession.

You can purchase a piece of land in a resort area for US$20,000 upwards. Houses in these areas are available for over US$75,000.

Land here are affordable and low-interest loans are always available to build houses, apartments, malls and plazas.


Manufacturing was big in the 1980s and 1990s. Taxes, escalating fuel costs and high cost of material have hampered the industry. There are still a few manufacturing plants in Jamaica but not like it once was.

There is the possibility to manufacture fabrics, food and clothes, especially brand Jamaica.

                                    Population of Jamaica

When you visit Jamaica, you will realize why our motto is “Out of Many, One People”. The diversity of our population is evident in every corner of Jamaica.

The Jamaican population is primarily of African descent (90.9 percent), with mixed-race people making up 7.3 percent of the population, East Indians making up 1.3 percent, and several other ethnic groups rounding out the total.

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