The Economy of Jamaica
An Overview

The economy of Jamaica is heavily dependent on Tourism and other services.

In fact, one of every three employed Jamaican works in the tourism and services field.

In 2000, we hosted more than 1 million visitors, and tourism/services contributed $1.33 billion to the economy, and despite some yearly fluctuations the figure continues to increase.

Despite the fact that it is also heavily capital intensive, Mining is a another major source of wealth .

Since large easily accessible deposits of bauxite were discovered in 1942, Jamaica has become one of the world's leading suppliers of this ore. Along with the alumina made from it, bauxite accounts for almost half of our foreign exchange.

By the way, two thirds of the island is made of limestone, and we are the world's third largest producer of bauxite, following Australia and Guinea.

There are also mine-able deposits of gypsum, marble, silica, sand, and clays. Bauxite and silica production have both fallen in recent years, however, gypsum and limestone have been on the rise; in 2000, limestone exports rose by 3.6 percent, and gypsum exports skyrocketed with a 40.1 percent increase.

Clothing currently constitutes the chief export item of the manufacturing sector. Jamaica's other industries include oil refining, sugar and tobacco processing, flour milling, and the production of rum, metal, paper, chemicals, and telecommunications equipment. Since the late 1960s industry has generated a greater share of the national income than our declining agricultural sector.

Our chief agricultural crop is sugar cane from which rum and molasses are also made. Other Agricultural exports include include the famed Blue Mountain coffee, bananas, citrus fruits, and yams. There are also smaller productions of ginger, cocoa, pimento (allspice), ackee and chickens.

Not to be overlooked, remittances from Jamaicans overseas does provide a major source of income for the country. Remittances account for nearly 20% of total GDP and are equivalent to tourism revenues.

Outside of a few years of exception, the country has undergone some difficult economic times in recent decades. The new government hopes to encourage economic activity through a combination of privatization, financial sector restructuring, reducing bureaucracy, reduction of corruption, reduced interest rates, and by boosting tourism and related productive activities.

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For more detailed information on the economy of Jamaica, please visit the CIA factbook.

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