Government to push ICT, BPO sector

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jamaica's government will shortly unveil a five-point plan aimed at expanding the country's ICT and BPO sector, the newly appointed industry, investment and commerce minister, Christopher Tufton, was quoted as saying by government news agency JIS.

The plan will focus on market/client segmentation and targeting, infrastructure build-out, a policy and legislative framework to stimulate and protect the industry, a cost-effective approach to addressing training needs for the industry, and financing to support ICT activity.

The idea is to double the number of jobs in the sector and improve the industry's global competitiveness.

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According to Tufton, the US$145mn local BPO industry accounts for 6% of the Caribbean and Latin American market, which is valued US$2.5bn. Around 26 firms are operating in the local sector, he added, and they create some 11,000 fulltime jobs.

To remain competitive at a regional level, Jamaica's ICT and BPO sector must grow 20-21% a year for the next 4-5 years, Tufton said.

Investments in the local ICT sector will be a "top priority" for the government over the next 12-18 months, according to the minister. To that end, he announced the use of resources from local investment promotion agency Jampro to attract more ICT entrepreneurs and corporations to invest in Jamaica.

The minister also announced the appointment of ICT entrepreneur and businessman Patrick Casserly as ICT ambassador and special envoy for the ministry.

Casserly will be in charge of streamlining and executing the ICT promotion strategy.