Jamaica Makes Progress In Advancing Social & Economic Development

Modern Jamaica Today 29
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Taken into account are the many opportunities Jamaica can potentially tap into, the current developmental challenges confronting the country, and the global context.

By Douglas McIntosh – Jamaica Information Service

Notable progress has been made in advancing social and economic development in Jamaica, under the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica.

Implemented in 2009, Vision 2030 Jamaica seeks to position the island to achieve developed country status and, in the process, make it the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.

Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, in reporting on 11 years of the plan’s implementation up to 2019/20, during the agency’s recent digital quarterly briefing, said that gains have been made across all four goals.

These are focused on ensuring that 1) Jamaicans are empowered to achieve their fullest potential; 2) the Jamaican society is secure, cohesive and just; 3) Jamaica’s economy is prosperous; and 4) Jamaica has a healthy natural environment.

Dr. Henry said that among the areas where advances have been made are human capital development; macroeconomic stability; reduction in unemployment; increased use of non-fossil fuel-based energy, such as alternatives and renewables; governance, particularly in government effectiveness; economic growth in some industry structures, particularly tourism, manufacturing, and finance and insurance services; and infrastructure development and housing quality.

He noted that over the period “there have been areas of challenges, owing to insufficient progress and/or development losses”.

These include low levels of economic growth, an increase in the rate of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), a fall in environmental sustainability, and inadequate levels of competitiveness and earnings in key economic sectors.

Dr. Henry said that while Jamaica’s score on the Ease of Doing Business Index has improved, there is need to advance the country’s ranking in this area.

Additionally, he noted that while Jamaica maintained its position in the second-tier High Human Development category of the Human Development Index (HDI), recorded gradual increases over the period of the plan’s implementation, and maintained a score of 0.734 for 2017-2019, the country lost an average of two points in its ranking for the period 2014-2019.

“A summary of the progress across the 75 indicators, shows that approximately 62.7 per cent have shown improvement over the baseline year 2007, based on data up to December 2019, while approximately 33.3 per cent showed no improvement or worsened, relative to the baseline year,” Dr. Henry informed.

A further breakdown of the Vision 2030 Jamaica targets showed that 36 per cent were met or exceeded.

In addition, 26.7 per cent of the indicators showed some improvement over the baseline year towards meeting the targets; 33.3 per cent of the indicators showed no improvement or worsened; while four per cent could not be compared in this way, due to lack of agreed targets for the relevant period.

These results, Dr. Henry pointed out, “will continue to play a key role in the pursuit of the strategic priorities under Vision 2030 Jamaica and inform the development of the Medium-Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF) for 2021-2024”.

Dr. Henry emphasised that the ongoing implementation of successive three-year MTFs, since 2009, aims to consolidate the developmental gains made under the previous frameworks and strengthen the foundations for achieving Jamaica’s long-term development results.

Taken into account are the many opportunities Jamaica can potentially tap into, the current developmental challenges confronting the country, and the global context.

Dr. Henry said that the PIOJ will continue to lead coordination of the implementation of Vision 2030 Jamaica, including monitoring and evaluation.

This is with the objective of identifying “progress towards planned development outcomes and assessing the strengths and gaps in the approach and priorities we are pursuing to advance the achievement of [the Plan], and report these to the general public”.

By Douglas McIntosh – Jamaica Information Service

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