The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to lend US$15 million to Jamaica, as the Caribbean country gears up to further expand its lucrative business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
Jamaica will use the money to develop a pipeline of BPO talent, in addition to strengthening its institutions as part of boosting the investment ecosystem.
The international bank looks convinced that the BPO is an ideal sector for Jamaica to create jobs and attract foreign investment.
The Jamaican outsourcing industry, mostly made up of car center services providers, has employed around 32,000 people, but the country’s Finance Minister Nigel Clarke stated at the time of signing the loan agreement with the IDB that the total headcount in the industry would likely exceed 40,000 by the end of this year.
As part of the agreement, government has handed the task of upskilling to Global Services Sector Skills Board (GSSSB), which consists of representatives from the Ministry of Education & Youth and Information, Business Process Outsourcing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) and Heart Trust/ NTA.
It is not clear how many people Jamaica will train as part of the program, but the government says the BPO association will ensure that the people are trained in accordance with the need of the industry.
There was a grumbling in the industry over the lack of talent to take over senior level roles. Such grumblings will soon be ended, because the government has made it clear that the initiative will also “prepare persons working in the industry for high-end jobs”.
Diane Edwards, JAMPRO President, said the program is a “critical lynchpin and stepping stone to creating a vibrant digital sector in Jamaica”, adding that it will persuade more Jamaicans to launch businesses in IT-enabled services.