Jamaicans living abroad have remitted US$16 billion to the local economy over the past decade, according to the island’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Arnaldo Brown.
Brown told the launch of the North East United States leg of the “Mapping Jamaica’s Diaspora Project” that this level of inflow from the Diaspora continues to demonstrate its commitment to the country.
But in addition to remittances, Brown said other aspects of the Diaspora are critical to the development of the Caribbean island.
“The Diaspora, which has already been playing an integral role in nation building, particularly in the health and education sectors, is now being invited to strengthen its cooperation with their land of origin in the areas identified in the national grow and investment agenda,” he told the launch.
Brown said that, last year, over 300 health missions visited Jamaica from the Diaspora, and that schools also continue to receive “tremendous support” from organizations, institutions and alumni.
He noted that an estimated three million Jamaicans are in the Diaspora, with the United States accounting for 1.8 million. The United Kingdom and Canada account for an estimated 800,000 and 300,000, respectively.
Brown said the goal is to have 100,000 Jamaicans in the Mapping Jamaica’s Diaspora database by June 2015 and that the sixth biennial Jamaica Diaspora conference will take place in Montego Bay from June 14 -18 next year under the theme “Jamaica and the Diaspora, Looking for Growth and Prosperity”.