Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. The island, 10,990 square kilometers (4,240 sq. mi) in the area, lies about 145 kilometers (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometers (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jamaica is the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Andorra's tourism services an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually. It is not a member of the European Union, but the euro is the official currency. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1993. In 2013, the people of Andorra had the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years, according to The Lancet.
In the 1980s, Jamaica had a well-established financial system that was expanding. Since 1962, the number of financial institutions had more than doubled to over forty, including the country's central bank, development finance banks, commercial banks, trust companies, merchant banks, building societies, insurance companies, peoples cooperative banks, finance houses, and credit unions. The government's economic policies in the 1980s favored greater use of monetary factors to influence the economy and tighter credit policies than previously used so as to restrain inflation.
The Bank of Jamaica was established in 1960 as the country's central bank. It was formed to replace the Currency Board, whose lack of authority to control the money supply had prevented the use of monetary policies. The bank issued currency regulated the banking system, set minimum reserve ratios, adjusted liquid reserve ratios, established discount rates, and generally controlled credit. As part of the government's economic policies in the 1980s, the bank pursued a restrictive credit policy to lower aggregate demand in the economy. The tight credit policy was accomplished through higher reserve and liquidity ratios, which in 1985 required commercial banks to retain 50 percent of their assets in a liquid form. Likewise, the prime lending rate was maintained at high levels, reaching 23 percent in December 1985, or more than 10 percentage points higher than the prime rate in the United States. Another monetary policy of the bank was the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar to adjust the real rate of exchange to more realistic levels. The bank devalued the Jamaican dollar numerous times in the 1980s, lowering the exchange rate several times over its value in the 1970s. These policies were designed to help reduce the balance-of-payments deficit by making exports more competitive.
|Agriculture||Bananas, coffee, spices, pimentos, cocoa, citrus, and coconuts|
|Manufacture||Bauxite/alumina, food processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper & chemical products.|
|Services (Including financial)||64.1% (2013 estimate)|
|Bank of Jamaica||Banking|
|Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica||Oil & gas|
The Jamaica Stock Exchange is the principal stock exchange of Jamaica, also known as the JSE. Incorporated in 1968, the JSE started operation in 1969 in Kingston, Jamaica. The current chairman is Allan Lewis, and the Deputy Chairman is Ian McNaughton. The General Manager of the JSE Group Management Team is Marlene Street-Forrest. The four founding members were: Willard Samms of Annett & Company Limited, Raglan S. Golding of Capital Market Services (JA) Ltd, Edward E Gayle of Edward Gayle & Company Ltd, and Anthony Lloyd of Pitfield Mckay Ross & Co Ltd. The Stock Market, which was initially known as the "Kingston Stock Exchange," started stock trading operations on Monday, February 3rd, 1969. It was restricted to brokers who traded both as agents and as principals. In 1989, the JSE founded a subsidiary, the Jamaica Central Securities Depository (JCSD). The JCSD was formed to facilitate electronic transfer and settlement of securities traded across the floor of the Exchange. Services later expanded to include registrar, transfer, and paying agency. In 2008, the JCSD founded a subsidiary, JCSD Trustee Services Limited, to provide trustee services to investors in a variety of securities. On June 3rd, 2008, the Jamaica Stock Exchange demutualized and listed on its own Exchange. On October 14th, 2014, it was announced that the Jamaica Stock Exchange became the 16th announced the member of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative. On May 7th, 2015, the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) launched its new online trading platform in a move that is expected to attract greater interest from investors abroad as well as the youth demographic.
The economy of Jamaica is in great difficulties and has been for some time. Jamaica is one of the most indebted countries in the world with debts totaling US$19 billion, equivalent to 140% of GDP. Servicing of the debt accounts for about 50% of total budgeted expenditure, and 45% of the 2012/13 budget was financed by borrowing. Further, growth has been sluggish for several years, with a 1.5% decline in 2010, 1.3% growth in 2011, but another decline of 0.3% in 2012. Unemployment and poverty levels are high, and the external current account deficit has widened. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted that low economic growth, declining productivity, and reduced competitiveness were key problems, but also linked these to Jamaica’s “unsustainable debt burden”. However, recalibrating the economy and reducing debt levels is a real challenge. The last Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) government signed an agreement with the IMF in February 2010 for a Standby Loan Agreement worth US$1.27 billion. In return the government committed to reduce the level of debt and interest rate costs, and reform the financial sector. However, the IMF agreement stalled and the last disbursement authorized by the Fund took place in January 2011. The present People’s National Party (PNP) government returned to the IMF and agreed a four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) worth US$932 million in May 2013. The PNP believes there is no alternative.
To secure the EFF the government is pushing through a series of difficult reforms, including, a debt swap, and tax raising measures, and reducing the public-sector wage bill. Eight months into the agreement the IMF stated that “overall policy implementation is strong” and that performance targets were being met. However, much more work needs to be done and the underlying tension between the very high and barely sustainable debt burden on the one hand, and encouraging growth on the other has to be addressed. Debt continues to displace much needed investments and prevents long-term growth. However, any serious attempt to reduce the debt through public spending cuts also damages Jamaica’s growth prospects. The particular focus on spending cuts is unfortunate as the country has been running primary budget surpluses for the last 20 years. As the Center for Economic and Policy Research argued in 2011, the most important factors causing budget targets to be missed are “lower-than-projected revenue and higher-than-anticipated interest payments – not increased spending”.
Another and quite different source of crucial support for Jamaica is being provided by Venezuela. Venezuela provides about one-third of Jamaica’s total oil consumption at a discounted price under the Petro Caribe initiative. In addition, since 2005 Jamaica has received USS2.4 billion in the form of long term loans based on its oil purchases. Funds have been invested in improving the country’s physical infrastructure, investing in renewable energy resources, and supporting the operation of several public bodies. Further, and very importantly, resources have been allocated for the refinancing of Jamaica’s domestic public sector debt. In addition, Jamaica has reportedly accessed Petro Caribe funds for recurrent expenses not limited to debt servicing. So the Jamaican economy is being supported in a variety of ways and the IMF predicts that it will grow by 0.4% in 2013 and 1.2% in 2014.
Previously inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taino peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Named Santiago, it remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered the island and renamed it Jamaica. Under British rule, Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy highly dependent on slaves imported from Africa, followed later by Chinese and Indian indentured labor. All slaves were fully emancipated in 1838, with independence from the United Kingdom achieved on 6 August 1962.
With 2.8 million people, Jamaica is the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the fourth most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city, with a population of 937,700. Jamaicans are of predominately African descent, with significant European, Chinese, Indian, and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration since the 1960s, Jamaica has a large diaspora around the world, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Jamaica is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, currently Sir Patrick Allen. The head of government and Prime Minister of Jamaica is Andrew Holness. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives.
Jamaica slowly gained increasing independence from the United Kingdom. In 1958, it became a province in the Federation of the West Indies, a federation among the British West Indies. Jamaica attained full independence by leaving the federation in 1962. Strong economic growth, averaging approximately 6% per annum, marked the first ten years of independence under conservative governments; they were led successively by Prime Ministers Alexander Bustamante, Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer. The growth was fuelled by strong private investments in bauxite/alumina, tourism, manufacturing industry and, to a lesser extent, the agricultural sector. The optimism of the first decade was accompanied by a growing sense of inequality, and concern that the benefits of growth were not being shared by the urban poor. Combined with the effects of a slowdown in the global economy in 1970, the electorate was moved to change government, electing the PNP (People's National Party) in 1972.
Despite efforts to create more socially equitable policies in education and health, Jamaica continued to lag economically. By 1980, its gross national product had declined to some 25% below the 1972 level. Due to rising foreign and local debt, accompanied by large fiscal deficits, the government sought International Monetary Fund (IMF) financing from the United States and others. The international bankers imposed IMF austerity measures (with a greater than 25% interest rate per year). Economic deterioration continued into the mid-1980s, exacerbated by a number of factors; the first and third largest alumina producers, Alpart and Alcoa, closed, and there was a significant reduction in production by the second largest producer, Alcan. In addition, tourism decreased and Reynolds Jamaica Mines, Ltd. left the Jamaican industry. Independence, however widely celebrated in Jamaica, has in more recent years been a topic for discussion. In 2011, a survey done showed that approximately 60% of Jamaicans would push to once again become a British territory; citing years of social and fiscal mismanagement in the country.
Portia Simpson Miller
(CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER)
The dollar has been the currency of Jamaica since 1969. It is often abbreviated "J$", the J serving to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents. The history of currency in Jamaica should not be considered in isolation of the wider picture in the British West Indies as a whole. See British West Indies dollar. The peculiar feature about Jamaica was the fact that it was the only British West Indies territory to use special issues of the sterling coinage, apart from the four-penny groat coin which was specially issued for all the British West Indies, and later only for British Guiana. The earliest money in Jamaica was Spanish copper coins called maravedíes. This relates to the fact that for nearly four hundred years Spanish dollars, known as pieces of eight were in widespread use on the world's trading routes, including the Caribbean Sea region. However, following the revolutionary wars in Latin America, the source of these silver trade coins dried up. The last Spanish dollar was minted at the Potosí mint in 1825. The United Kingdom had adopted a very successful gold standard in 1821, so 1825 was an opportune time to introduce the British sterling coinage into all the British colonies.
An imperial order-in-council was passed in that year for the purposes of facilitating this aim by making sterling coinage legal tender in the colonies at the specified rating of $1 = 4s 4d (one Spanish dollar to four shillings and four pence sterling). As the sterling silver coins were attached to a gold standard, this exchange rate did not realistically represent the value of the silver in Spanish dollars as compared to the value of the gold in the British gold sovereign, and as such, the order-in-council had the reverse effect in many colonies. It had the effect of actually driving sterling coinage out, rather than encouraging its circulation. Remedial legislation had to be introduced in 1838 so as to change over to the more realistic rating of $1 = 4s 2d. However, in Jamaica, British Honduras, Bermuda, and later in the Bahamas also, the official rating was set aside in favor of what was known as the 'Maccaroni' tradition in which a British shilling, referred to as a 'Maccaroni', was treated as one-quarter of a dollar. The common link between these four territories was the Bank of Nova Scotia which brought in the 'Maccaroni' tradition, resulting in the successful introduction of both sterling coinage and sterling accounts.
Jamaica's currency is the Jamaican dollar. The value of the Jamaican dollar fluctuates but in October 2012 it was approximately J$90 to US$1. At the time of its introduction, coins of 1 cent (1.2 pence), 5 cents (6 pence), 10 cents (1 shilling), 20 cents (2 shillings) and 25 cents (2 shillings 6 pence) were produced. With the exception of a smaller bronze 1 cent, the compositions, sizes, and shapes of the coins were identical to those they replaced. The 1-cent coin was changed in 1975 to a twelve-sided shape and aluminum composition. Decagonal 50-cent coins were introduced in 1976 to replace the 50 cent banknote, but production for circulation ceased in 1989, along with that of the 20 cents. In 1990, nickel-brass 1 dollar coins were introduced to replace the banknote of the same denomination. Nickel-plated steel replaced copper-nickel in the 5, 10, and 25 cent coins in 1991 with a smaller size and seven-sided shape for the 25 cent coin. In 1994, around nickel-plated steel 5 dollar coin replaced its corresponding banknote, a smaller, seven-sided nickel-plated steel 1 dollar coin was introduced, and the 5 cent coin was abandoned. 1995 saw smaller, round copper-plated steel 10 and 25 cent coins. All non-current coins were demonetized in January 1997. A scalloped nickel-plated steel 10 dollar coin replaced the 10 dollar note in 1999 and a bimetallic 20 dollar coin with a nickel-brass ring and copper-nickel center was introduced in favor of a 20 dollar banknote in 2000. All nickel-plated or copper-plated steel coins are magnetic. All coins have the Jamaican coat of arms on their obverse.
On 8 September 1969, banknotes of 50 cents (5 shillings), $1 (10 shillings), $2 (£1), and $10 (£5) were introduced. The $5 note was introduced on 20 October 1970, followed by the $20 in June 1976, when the 50 cent note was replaced by a coin. $100 notes were added on 2 December 1986, followed by $50 notes on 27 July 1988. The $2 note was dropped in 1994, whilst the $1 note was replaced by a coin in 1990. In 1994, coins replaced the $5 notes and $500 notes were introduced. In 1999, $10 coins replaced notes, whilst, in 2000, $20 coins replaced the notes and $1000 notes were introduced. On November 15, 2010, the Bank of Jamaica issued a $50 commemorative note to celebrate its founding. The note is similar to its regular issue in design and security features, but the bank's logo printed in blue, with the words "50th anniversary and 1960-2010" printed above and below the logo. The back of the commemorative note features the Bank of Jamaica headquarters building in Nether sole Place set against a background of morning glory blossoms. Both the commemorative and the regular issue note circulate in parallel.
In 2012, the Bank of Jamaica introduced a new family of banknotes commemorating the country's Golden Jubilee. The commemorative banknotes are similar to its regular issue banknotes, but on the obverse, it features the "Jamaica 50" logo superimposed on the watermark on the front of each note. The unique image, which is normally on the reverse side of each note, has been replaced by a photograph of a group of children from Central Branch Primary School, from 1962. It formerly appeared on the $2 note, which was in circulation from 1969 to 1994. Currently, the Jamaican banknotes are printed on a cotton material which has a relatively short life in the country's tropical climate and other circulation conditions, but the new notes will come on enhanced substrates. The $100 note is printed on a material called "Hybrid", a combination of a protected polyester film layered on a cotton fiber core. The $50, $500, and $1000 notes are printed on a varnished cotton substrate, that is, the traditional cotton treated with a varnish after the notes have been printed. Varnishing creates a moisture -proof layer to protect the banknotes against surface soiling and reduces the extent to which they will absorb moisture, contaminant particles, and microorganisms. The $5000 note remains on a regular cotton substrate as the main security thread, "Optiks", is compatible only with the cotton-based material.
Up until the early 16th century, when the Spaniards colonized Jamaica, there had been little occasion for the use of regular currency. Although there was a small amount of gold on the; island, the Taino Indians, Jamaica's first inhabitants, used it; for decorative purposes rather than for trade, which was conducted by barter. The first units of exchange used by the Spaniards (who came with Columbus in 1494) in their dealings with the Tainos, were items such as glass beads and trinkets, scissors and mirrors. Jamaica was not settled by the Spaniards until 1509. Very little attempt was made to develop the country's natural resources and it remained a poor country used chiefly as an agricultural supplier. It seems that the majority of the circulating coinage on the island at this time was made of copper. These coins, called maravedis, were very thin and light in weight and were apparently brought to Jamaica from Santo Domingo. Sometimes these coins were stamped with different marks such as an anchor or key, which was perhaps intended to vary their value according to the supply of money in the island.
|National Song||"Jamaica, Land We Love"|
|Currency||Jamaican dollar (JMD)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||25.394 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||1.1 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$8975.73 (PPP)|
< 1.0% Muslims
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
Other Or Unknown 2.6%
Queen – Elizabeth II[γ]
Prime Minister – Andrew Holness
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||115.161 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||13.258 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|