Business in Jamaica – Get The Facts Now!

Jamaica is widely known as the land of the fastest sprinters, reggae music, breathtaking beaches, and its laid-back vibe.

Many tourists visit the Caribbean island because every day appears to be a chill day.

My Jamaica Business advice

How to start a business in Jamaica is one part, but let us understand the country first, so that you know, how it is and where you would like to do business in Jamaica.

What Part of America is Jamaica?

Jamaica is an island country that is situated about 960 kilometers south of Miami, Florida. As one of the largest islands in the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica measures approximately 11,200 square kilometers.

The Caribbean island falls about 190 kilometers west of the Dominican Republic and 140 kilometers south of Cuba. Due to its proximity to Cuba and the Caribbean coast of Central America, Jamaica is considered part of North America.

Most people think Jamaica and other Caribbean islands are part of South America, but this is false. Apart from its breathtaking beaches and tropical climate, Jamaica also hosts a series of tourist attraction sites that include the Montage Bay and the Blue Mountains.

According to global ratings, Montage Bay is regarded as one of the best tourist attraction havens in the entire Caribbean Sea.

central america map location jamaica business
Jamaica Location and Country Flag

Facts About Jamaica

  • Official Name: Jamaica
  • Capital City: Kingston
  • Official Language: English
  • Population: About 3 million people
  • Currency: Jamaican dollar
  • Land Area: About 11,000 square kilometers
  • Governance Structure: Parliamentary democracy
  • Major Rivers: Rio Grande, Black River, Rio Cobre
  • Major Hills and Mountains: Cockpit Country, Blue Mountains, Don Figueroa Mountains, John Crow Mountains
  • Weather: Tropical

How Big is Jamaica

Jamaica is the 3rd largest island in the Caribbean Sea and the largest island that recognizes English as its official language.

Located 145 kilometers south of Cuba, 161 kilometers south-west of Haiti, and 966 kilometers south of Florida, Jamaica measures about 235 kilometers long, 82 kilometers wide, and has 11,424 square kilometers.

In the late 1940s, Christopher Columbus discovered the Caribbean island and named it Santiago. However, it is the island’s native name of Xaynaca or Jamaica, which took precedence in its naming. To date, many holidaymakers share the sentiments and regard it as one of the most captivating islands in the Caribbean.

One of the things we noticed when we traveled in Jamaica is its various French, Spanish, and English place-names that serve as a constant reminder of the island’s colonial history.

Despite being colonized by several world powers, and English is the official language, most of its citizens come from African ancestry, Chinese, and East Indian heritage. The island nation became independent from the United Kingdom’s colonial rule in the early 1960s but remained a Commonwealth member.

Jamaica Population

With about three million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in North and South America after Canada and the United States. And despite Jamaica’s impressive population, its growth portrays an unpredictable nature. In fact, for more than 50 years, the island’s population has been relatively unstable, recording a lot of ups and downs.

For the last two decades, the island’s population growth has been experiencing some downward trend, recording as low as 0.26 percent growth rate in 2019. At present, Jamaica is witnessing a decline in teenagers with an increase in the retired and working-age population. As it is the norm for developing nations, the retired and working-age population is the fastest-growing section in Jamaica.

In the years to come, Jamaica’s population is being projected to maintain its slow growth rate due to the decline of net migration and the average birth rate stagnating to two children per woman.

What Language is Spoken in Jamaica

By the time British colonialists were invading Jamaica in the 1650s, the Spanish colonizers had virtually finished off the natives’ Taino people. Despite colonizing the island, the population of English colonists remained small. However, they managed to bring in vast numbers of slaves to work in their immense sugar estates.

At present, Jamaica’s population comprises predominantly of the offsprings of those slaves, with a small section of the masses belonging to mixed African and European ancestry. A smaller section of the population can trace their heritage to China, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Middle East, Portugal, and India.

Today, English is the official language commonly used in offices, towns, and affluent society. On the other hand, Jamaican Patois, also known as Patwa, is widely spoken among the youth. Although its grammar and vocabulary are based on English, Patwa derives a lot of its phrasing and grammar from West African languages, French, and to a lesser degree, Spanish. The grammatical flow, intonations, lyrical cadences, and pronunciations of the Patwa language make it a unique language.

Jamaican People and Culture

jamaica bon marley music legend

Jamaican People and Culture

Most of the island inhabitants reside in the city, with more than a 1/3 living in Kingston’s capital. According to 2010 data, more than 90 percent of Jamaicans are of African descent, with others tracing their roots in Germany, Syria, India, and China. This diversity influenced the country’s motto of “Out of Many, One People.”

Today, when most people hear the word Jamaica, they automatically start thinking about Rastafarianism, Reggae music, or Dancehall music. Reggae, the music genre, was born in the late 1950s and early 1960s from the musical styles of rock-steady, mento, and ska.

Bob Marley, and his group, the Wailers, are the most renowned reggae personalities globally. Other famous reggae musicians and bands include Israel Vibration, Peter Tosh, Mighty Culture, and Burning Spear.

Jamaicans are quite religious, whereby different people subscribe to religions such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Rastafarianism, and Hinduism. Most Jamaicans subscribe to Rastafarianism, a faith closely associated with Christianity, and emerged from the 1930s civil rights movement.

The Rastafarian faith believes in Ethiopia’s former Emperor, Haile Selassie, who served from the mid-1910s to mid-1970s. Followers of the religion maintain their hair in dreadlocks, subscribing to the trail of thought that hair should not be cut. Rasta men and women wear clothing in the colors of the Ethiopian flag, red, gold, and green.

Jamaica in 4K

Jamaica Climate

The climate of the Caribbean island is tropical, with hot and humid temperatures experienced in most parts. However, some areas on the southern part of the island, such as the Pedro Plains and the Liguanea Plain, are comparatively dry rain-shadow regions.

Situated in the Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane belt, Jamaica is not new to storms and hurricane damage. For instance, in 1988 and 1951, Jamaica experienced Hurricanes Gilbert and Charlie, which caused many deaths and significant destruction.

A decade later, after the last hurricane, the island experienced other hurricanes, Gustav, Ivan, and Dean, that also brought extreme weather to the tropical country.

Jamaica Money and Economy

A few significant Businesses in Jamaica industries run the economy in Jamaica, including financial services, insurance, agriculture, mining, tourism, and manufacturing services. In Jamaica, mining and tourism are the leading earners of foreign exchange. According to 2020 research, an estimated 1.5 million foreign tourists visit the island every year.

Business in Jamaica research

Also, recent research shows that more than half of the Jamaican economy depends on tourism services for survival. Since the island got independence, Jamaica still records impressive gross domestic product data, making the country a fertile land for local and foreign investors.

Government Structure of Jamaica

After gaining independence from the British colonizers in 1962, Jamaica adopted the two significant governance structures — constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The monarchy is governed by the Queen of England (opens in a new tab), while an executive Prime Minister heads the parliamentary arm.

It is the role and duty of elected parliamentary members affiliated with the leading political party to elect the Prime Minister who serves as the head of government.

On the other hand, the Queen of England, who serves as the head of the British monarch, follows the prime minister’s recommendations in appointing the governor-general, who acts more as a ceremonial figure in the government.

In Jamaica, the cabinet is the primary policy-making body that runs the day-to-day affairs of the country. The cabinet comprises the Prime Minister and another 11 appointed ministers. The government’s legislative arm consists of two houses of representatives, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Senate has 21 appointed members, while the House of Representatives comprises of 63 members. In Jamaica, elections are held every five years. Citizens who have attained the age of 18 years are considered eligible to vote.

Doing Business in Jamaica

According to the World Bank’s (opens in a new tab) “Doing Business Index,” Jamaica is the sixth country in the world in terms of ease of business to start in jamaica. Suppose you are a foreigner and would like to start a business in the Caribbean nation. In that case, you should satisfy the following criteria:

Business in Jamaica criteria

  1. All offshore companies that wish to operate in the country must register with the Registrar of Companies within a month.
  2. If a company wishes to be an occupant or developer under the Special Economic Zones Act, it should be registered under Jamaica’s Companies Act as a company limited by shares.
  3. If an offshore company wishes to apply for a work visa for a potential employee, the foreigner must register for Jamaica’s permit. The company should also show an ability to sponsor the foreigner’s stay on the island.

There are two ways for legally establishing a Business in Jamaica company:

  • Registering a new company
  • Incorporating a branch or a place of business of the offshore company

In a nutshell,

Finally, the company must also obtain an Investment Certificate from the Ministry of Industry and Investment to do business in Jamaica.
The economy is primarily driven by financial services, insurance, agriculture, mining, tourism, and manufacturing services. To do business in Jamaica, companies must register with the Registrar of Companies, obtain an Investment Certificate from the Ministry of Industry and Investment, and have enough capital and resources.

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