Economy - overview: The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounts for more than 70% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Earnings from remittances and tourism each account for about 15% of GDP, while bauxite/alumina exports have declined to less than 5% of GDP.
Jamaica's economy has grown on average less than 1% a year for the last three decades and many impediments remain to growth: a bloated public sector which crowds out spending on important projects; high crime and corruption; red-tape; and a high debt-to-GDP ratio. Jamaica, however, has made steady progress in reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio from a high of almost 150% in 2012 to about 115% in 2017, in close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund. The existing Stand By Agreement requires Jamaica to produce an annual primary surplus of 7%, in an attempt to reduce its debt burden below 60% by 2025.
Economic growth reached 1.6% in 2016. The HOLNESS administration faces the difficult prospect of maintaining fiscal discipline to make debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious crime problem. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence fueled by the drug trade.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - This page was last updated on July 9, 2017