Coat of Arms
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
»Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
»10,991 km2 (166th)
» Per capita -$9,199
» Per capita -$5,657
»Jamaican dollar (JMD)
Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. The island, 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jamaica is the fifth-largest island country in the Caribbean.
Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, in 1655 it came under the rule of England (later Great Britain), and was called Jamaica. It achieved full independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. Kingston is the country’s largest city and its capital, with a population of 937,700.Jamaica has a large diaspora around the world, due to emigration from the country.
Jamaica is a mixed economy with both state enterprises and private sector businesses. Major sectors of the Jamaican economy include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, and financial and insurance services.
Tourism and mining are the leading earners of foreign exchange. Half the Jamaican economy relies on services, with half of its income coming from services such as tourism. An estimated 1.3 million foreign tourists visit Jamaica every year.
Supported by multilateral financial institutions, Jamaica has, since the early 1980s, sought to implement structural reforms aimed at fostering private sector activity and increasing the role of market forces in resource allocation. Since 1991, the government has followed a programme of economic liberalization and stabilization by removing exchange controls, floating the exchange rate, cutting tariffs, stabilising the Jamaican currency, reducing inflation and removing restrictions on foreign investment.
Emphasis has been placed on maintaining strict fiscal discipline, greater openness to trade and financial flows, market liberalisation and reduction in the size of government. During this period, a large share of the economy was returned to private sector ownership through divestment and privatisation programmes.
The macroeconomic stabilisation programme introduced in 1991, which focused on tight fiscal and monetary policies, has contributed to a controlled reduction in the rate of inflation.
The annual inflation rate decreased from a high of 80.2% in 1991 to 7.9% in 1998. Inflation for FY1998/99 was 6.2% compared to 7.2% in the corresponding period in CUU1997/98.
The Government of Jamaica remains committed to lowering inflation, with a long-term objective of bringing it in line with that of its major trading partners.
Jamaica is ranked 75 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of -0.0523836
Top 5 Products exported by Jamaica
- Aluminium Oxide (29%),
- Refined Petroleum (20%),
- Alcohol > 80% ABV (11%),
- Aluminium Ore (8.0%),
- Raw Sugar (4.6%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Jamaica
Jamaica has long been a jewel in the Caribbean tourism industry crown, but there’s far more to discover than just beaches and all-inclusive resorts.
With Bob Marley, Jamaica gifted us the first global superstar from the developing world. But he didn’t spring from nowhere – this tiny island has musical roots that reach back to the folk songs of West Africa and forward to the electronic beats of contemporary dancehall.
Simply put, Jamaica is a musical powerhouse, a fact reflected not just in the bass of the omnipresent sound systems, but in the lyricism of the patois language and the gospel sounds from the island’s many churches. Music is life in Jamaica, and you’ll soon find yourself swaying along with it.
Ask any expat Jamaican what they miss about their island, and the answer is inevitably the landscape itself, that great green garden that constitutes one of the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean. Jamaica begins with crystalline waters flowing over gardens of coral, lapping onto soft sandy beaches, then rising past red soil and lush banana groves into sheer mountains.
This is powerfully beautiful country, captivating to the eyes and soul. Jamaican culture can be a daunting subject for foreigners to understand, but ultimately it’s a matter of appreciating this land and how its cyclical rhythms set the pace of so much island life.
Like many aspects of Jamaican culture, the food is a creole, born somewhere between the Old and New Worlds. African spice rubs have evolved into delicious jerk, while yam, rice and plantain form the basis of rich stews and the fish that abound in local waters.
Throw in the astounding array of tropical fruits that seem to drip from the trees, washed down with a shot of rum, and you can see (and taste) how the Jamaican cultural story retains its original voice whilst adapting to the setting – and of course, rhythms – of the Caribbean.
- Visit Nine Mile where Bob Marley was born and now buried. The journey up into the mountains lets you experience the heart of the country. Spend a day at Negril 7 mile beach and finish off at Rick’s Cafe for a spectacular sunset and watch even more fantastic cliff diving.
- The journey up into the mountains lets you experience the heart of the country. Spend a day at Negril 7 mile beach and finish off at Rick’s Cafe for a spectacular sunset and watch even more fantastic cliff diving.