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R HENRY Mooney, the lead

economist at the Inter-American

Development Bank (IDB), says the

Jamaican economy is showing positive

signs for growth, but believes structural

impediments such as crime, education,

combined low productivity, and lack of

access to capital must be confronted in

order to maximise its potential.

“There has never been a better time in the

last 20 years to be operating business in

Jamaica, to be investing and growing your

business in Jamaica, because the conditions

are very good,” said Mooney following his

presentation entitled ‘Supporting Jamaica’s

Economic Agenda and the BPO Sector’ at

the Business Process Industry Association

of Jamaica (BPIAJ) President’s Forum, held

at Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records in Montego

Bay on Thursday.

“There are still structural impediments to

growth in this economy, like crime,

education, combined low productivity, and

lack of access to capital, that are the kinds of

issues the Government, industries, and their

partners need to work on to accelerate


While tourism and agriculture are

expected to give a significant boost to the

local economy, Dr Mooney believes

Jamaica’s attitude in the global service

sector, with its BPO offering, could be crucial

for national development.

“If BPO develops properly, it is a huge

contender to accelerate growth,” he told

The Gleaner

.” It is a sector that competes

with the world and operates in a global

market. BPO has the opportunity to operate

in an infinite market and is not constrained

by the Jamaican market.

“It is really dependent on the industry to

position itself to the right segment of the

market that has the right growth potential to

develop the kind of skills, that are in

demand. So if the industry develops the

right skills, and has the right kind of

financing, the possibilities are endless for


Employment figures in the BPO industry

now stand at 36,000 in 60 firms islandwide,

with an estimated contribution of US$450

million to the Jamaican economy, with

earnings projected to reach US$262.2

billion by 2022.




Dr Henry Mooney, lead economist at the

Inter-American Development Bank

Dr Guna Muppuri, immediate past president of the BPIAJ, makes a point to

Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive Joy Clarke at the

BPIAJ’s President’s Forum at Usain Bolt Tracks and Records in Montego Bay


school level.

The Primary Exit Profile (PEP), designed

to replace the Grade Six Achievement Test

(GSAT), is intended to assess students’

knowledge but, most importantly, will place

an increased emphasis on assessing

students’ demonstration of 21st-century

skills, for example, critical thinking and

communication. The overall aim of PEP is

to test the true mastery of all subjects

involved to ensure students are able to

apply subject content, skills, and abilities in

different ways to solve a problem.

This move by the Government to bridge

the skills gap and ensure that the labour

force has the right skills is very aligned with

the BPIAJ’s Global Services’ Accelerating

Up the Value Chain project which will be

implemented the next few years. This

project will be mapping employers’ fast-

evolving needs, and delivering tailored


Currently, the majority of the services

offered are customer service management,

which includes customer support, tech

support, debt collection, and insurance

claims and processing, among others.

In this age of the Fourth Industrial

Revolution, countries are forced to innovate

and boost economic growth through

exports from higher, value-added and

digitised services in traditional and

nontraditional services. The goal of the

BPIAJ and industry practitioners is to move

up the value chain and provide higher-value

services, such as research and

development – designing process or

products that will enable greater efficiency

within business operations.

Although the Government has the main

responsibility for delivering education for all,

partnerships and innovation are important in

order to be able to deliver this quality

education. In this regard, the BPIAJ invites

public and private partners to be part of the

programme to train and the thousands of

quality persons who will be needed for the

Global Services project.

Building skills has become an important

field of development cooperation and an

important strategic pillar of our growth











Global services sector

key to nat’l development