An entrepreneur’s strategic guide for Growth and Competitiveness among Micro Enterprises in Jamaica
According to page 20 of the Global Competitive Index (GCI) of 2002, Jamaica “Given Jamaica’s small market, exports must provide the growth needed to achieve development according to the National Industrial Policy. The successful realization of export-led growth requires improved competitiveness, which can be achieved by increasing productivity, although this may imply cost reduction and the use of proper technology.” According to the gospel according to GCI, there are 12 pillars to competitiveness and this writer proposes that instead of seeking solutions to improve competitiveness in developing countries (a.k.a third world states), we adopt and adapt similar competitiveness attributes and framework required for developed nations.
The GCI 2014-2015 diagram above presents a visual outline of the Global Competitiveness Index Framework, and is intended to be an easy interpretation of the solutions to achieve the dream of an effective and efficient “set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country” . The level of productivity, the GCI report continues, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be reached by an economy. The productivity level also determines the rates of return obtained by investments in an economy, which in turn are the fundamental drivers of its growth rates. In other words, a more competitive economy is one that is likely to grow faster over time. The concept of competitiveness thus involves static and dynamic components. Although the productivity of a country determines its ability to sustain a high level of income, it is also one of the central determinants of its return on investment, which is one of the key factors explaining an economy’s growth potential.
This is further supported, by the 2014 Jamaica government report that over the past few decades, the country’s real GDP per capita increased at an average of just 1 percent per annum and attributed this to the weak business environment. Light was shed on the issue in June 2014 when the International Development Research Centre in collaboration with the Canada CRDI conducted research which was published under “Fostering Entrepreneurship – A Policy Imperative for Jamaica”. Its key findings include the following:
In my humble opinion based upon my 2 decades’ consulting experience in the Caribbean, Jamaica’s Business support organizations have experimented with wonderful and inspiring projects with great potential. Without external funding—these initiatives died! My proposal to us as a family of proud Jamaicans is that as we celebrate our emancipated freedoms, we push harder and more desperately for economic freedom among ourselves. I agree with the Great Bob Marley “until the basic human rights are met, there will indeed be war and the beauty and uniqueness of Jamaica is that we believe that we have an inalienable right to prosperity. There is absolutely no Jamaican that is of the view that s/he is destined to be in the same economic position that they currently hold.
Here is my road-map my people, whether we have 1 man or 20, 2 products or plenty, we must customize the solution reserved for advanced/ developed economies as per Pillars 11 and 12 in the diagram above. To do so, we will commit to working smarter, not harder and one way is by using investments already made such as those projects and reports of the Private Sector Development Programme of 2009. Whatever we decided we will:
This, I believe is our roadmap to microenterprise growth in Jamaica. There are gaps to be filled, let’s fill them together nuh?
Andrea C Livingston Prince,MBA
Economic Development Consultant- Private Sector