Jamaican Investment Ambassadors: Good Idea, Says Joe Issa

One of the nation’s brightest entrepreneurs Joe Issa, who knows the critical role which capital investment plays in growing an economy, has said that the appointment of investment ambassadors to seek foreign capital for Jamaica is a good idea.

Foreign Capital

“We will never have enough capital of our own to invest and grow the economy; we need to supplement it with foreign capital, whether through loans or equity investments, but the latter is better.

“In fact, we need lots of it, as much as we can get, and I think the investment ambassadors could achieve that goal by enabling Jamaica to widening the net, especially into India, which has been a non-traditional source,” says Issa, who is leveraging his Cool brand of products internationally, including India.

Joey and Asha Issa

Issa, who is married to an Indian businesswoman and therefore, takes an interest in what happens in India, says the country has been doing well consistently, posting an average of about five per cent GDP over the past 20 years.

He said India is a rich source of foreign capital, as the economy is largely capitalistic in nature and embraces free trade and capital flows, which Jamaica can tap into by leveraging the long history of friendly relations between the two countries.

India at a Glance

That Jamaica needs to widen its foreign capital sources is an understatement, says Issa, stating that Jamaica needs to look to the Middle East and Asia, stressing that it’s not only China, but also India, which is in South Asia.

The latest information shows that despite the challenging external environment, the Indian Economy remains vibrant, with GDP growth rate projected at 7–7.5 per cent this fiscal year, coming from 7.6 per cent in 2015–16 and 7.2 per cent in 2014–15.

The Economic Survey for 2015–16, which has just been tabled in Parliament, also “made a case for carrying forward the reform process to achieve macro-economic stability.” Reference is made to the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 per cent of GDP, which it said seems achievable.

According to Wikipedia, India is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world.

Quoting IMF data, in nominal terms India’s economy was worth US$2.183 trillion in 2015. In terms of market exchange rates, India is the 7th-largest economy in the world, and by purchasing power parity (PPP), it is the third-largest at US$8.027 trillion.

“With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 6.1% during 2011–12, India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. However, the country ranks 140th in the world in nominal GDP per capita and 129th in GDP per capita at PPP,” said Wikipedia.

It is said that “until 1991, all Indian governments followed protectionist policies that were influenced by socialist economics. Widespread state intervention and regulation largely walled the economy off from the outside world.”

It adds that “an acute balance of payments crisis in 1991 forced the nation to liberalize its economy; since then it has slowly moved towards a free-market system by emphasising both foreign trade and direct investment inflows,” noting that India’s recent economic model is largely capitalist and the country has been a member of WTO since 1 January, 1995.