As we move through a new year and new decade, what will 2020 bring for business in Jamaica? More of the same or something different?

Let me admit up front, I do not hold or pretend to hold any special powers to predict the future. I wish I did, and who wouldn’t? But sorry, I don’t. All I can do, much like anyone else, is make a best guess. But not a best guess based on feeling or best wishes but on data, analysis, known and immerging patterns and connecting the dots.

So, let’s do just that for 2020.

Last year saw Jamaica further improve its macro-economic stability with the indicators pointing in the right direction. But what of economic growth?

As Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke and others have acknowledged, while macro-economic stability is a critical condition for economic growth by itself, it is not enough to spur greater levels of economic growth. And the results speak for themselves.

The Jamaican economy grew, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), at a low 0.6 per cent for the June to September quarter of 2019, the last reported period of 2019. This makes for 19 consecutive quarters of economic growth, which is the longest unbroken stretch of economic growth since Jamaica started measuring growth quarterly in 1997.

This growth, while low, did occur under challenging circumstances locally and internationally. For example, locally we saw the closure of the JISCO/Alpart plant represented a 17.6 per cent decline in Jamaica’s output of bauxite/alumina and internationally the trade war between the United States and China saw a drag on global growth.

So, what will change this picture for Jamaica?

What guided the list?

I chose the list based on several factors, including, but not limited to, the convergence of various government policy, investments, enhanced and emerging business opportunities and infrastructural decisions made by the government, private sector and civil society in 2019 and preceding years. Certain patterns have emerged that should make 2020 – best guess – a very special one for business in Jamaica.

Top 10 business trends

Here are my top 10 trends, placed in no order of priority:

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