flag Jamaica Jamaica: Investing

FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's 2022 World Investment Report, FDI flows to Jamaica accounted for USD 321 million in 2021, up from USD 265 million in 2020 (+20.9%), but were still below the three-year average recorded before the pandemic (USD 776 million). The FDI stock reached USD 17.8 billion in 2021 (around 117.7% of GDP), making Jamaica the largest recipient of FDI among small island developing states. Jamaica's economy is primarily service-based, with tourism, telecommunications, and financial services being the most significant sectors attracting FDI. The tourism industry accounts for more than 60% of total FDI inflows; while the telecommunications sector has also attracted significant FDI, with major telecom players such as Digicel and Cable & Wireless making significant investments in the country. The bauxite sector has also attracted foreign investment. Over 60 outsourcing firms operate in Jamaica, generating USD 700 million in revenue and employing roughly 40,000 persons, according to data from the Jamaican Government’s marketing agency, Jampro. As per the latest figures from the Bank of Jamaica, in the first three quarters of 2022, FDI inflows reached USD 269.6 million, marking a decrease of 15.4% compared to the same period one year earlier.

The country aims to become a logistical hub between North and South America, which requires the development of transport infrastructure (maritime, aviation, road and rail) and logistics. The Jamaican Government offers incentives such as easy payment methods, grace periods for tax payments and duty-free imports to foreign investors. The country has many assets, including its strategic geographical location, rich natural resources and a significant capacity to receive large numbers of tourists. Jamaica allows both domestic and foreign private entities to establish and own business enterprises and engage in all forms of remunerative activities. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership or control, and local laws do not differentiate between local and foreign investors. Market access is not impeded by sector-specific limitations, although labour, registration, and environmental requirements must be met. No formal screening mechanisms exist for foreign investments. The government also established Special Economic Zones in which operators benefit from a 12.5% reduced corporate income tax rate; customs duty relief, General Consumption Tax relief; employment tax credit; promotional tax credit on research and development; capital allowance; and other incentives. Nevertheless, high criminality (e.g. security is required to protect the physical infrastructure of most properties and Jamaica's murder rate remains one of the highest in the hemisphere), a significant number of drug traffickers, corruption and the risk of natural catastrophes remain hindrances to FDI. Overall, Jamaica ranks 39th out of 176 countries in the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom and 69th out of 180 in the latest Corruption Perception Index.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Jamaica Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 4.0 4.1 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 8.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 5.0 6.7 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 265320360
FDI Stock (million USD) 17,497.217,807.618,167.1
Number of Greenfield Investments*
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 362096

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.


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Tax Rates

Value Added Tax (VAT)
15% (standard rate).
25% for the provision of telecommunication services (including phone cards) and handsets.
10% for hotels and the tourism sector.
Several items are exempt, including: certain basic food items, certain energy-saving devices, prescription drugs, certain medical supplies, as well as certain construction, transportation, and financial and insurance services.
Zero-rated goods and services include: some agricultural and fisheries inputs, exported goods and services, and purchases by diplomatic and international organisations and foreign governments.
Company Tax
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 15% (residents)/25% (non-resident individuals)/33.33% (non-resident corporations); Interests: 25% (non-resident individuals; residents)/33.33% (non-resident corporations); Royalties: 0% (residents)/25% (non-resident individuals)/33.33% (non-resident corporations).
Bilateral Agreement
The United Kingdom and Jamaica are bound by a double taxation treaty.
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers
National Housing Trust (NHT): 3%
National Insurance Scheme (NIS): 3% on gross emoluments up to JMD 3 million with effect from 1 April 2021 (JMD 5 million from 1 April 2022)
Human Employment and Resource Training Trust (HEART): 3%
Education Tax: 3.50%
Other Domestic Resources
Jamaican Tax Administration
Overview of Jamaica's tax measures in response to Covid-19
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Individual Taxes

Income tax
Up to JMD 1,500,000 0% (for resident individuals)
JMD 1,500,000 - 6,000,000 25%
Above JMD 6,000,000 30%

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Jamaica Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 11.0 28.2 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 268.0 327.5 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 35.1 46.8 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Investment Opportunities

Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Inter-American Development Bank, Tenders in South America
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Setting Up a Company
Consult Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Jamaica.
Useful Resources
Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) 
Contact the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom.
Contact UK Trade & Investment in Jamaica.
Contact the Embassy of Jamaica in the United Kingdom.

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Jamaica Latin America & Caribbean
Procedures (number) 2.00 8.00
Time (days) 3.00 25.22

Source: Doing Business.


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Latest Update: November 2023

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