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Expatriate Health Insurance News: Jamaica looks to its expats for investment

The Caribbean island of Jamaica is looking towards its citizens who have moved abroad to invest in their country of birth.

A drive is currently underway to lure expatriates back to Jamaica with their funds in order to help kickstart its economy.

Expats, including entrepreneurs, turned out in their hundreds to meet with government officials and local businesspeople to pool ideas on how to boost growth in the country.

The Jamaica Diaspora conference was set up as a way to look at possible opportunities to harness the education, skills and wealth of those Jamaicans living overseas.

Lloyd Grey, a retired expat from Britain who was brought up in Jamaica, said: "This can lead to a roadmap for Jamaica's future.

"The people who have come here to this conference have substantial knowledge, connections and interests that can help take the country's development into many, many directions."

Jamaica is not the only island that has seen many of its skilled workers lured to other countries offering them a higher salary, as many people from the Caribbean islands of Grenada and St Lucia move to Britain, the US and Canada too.

Approximately 3.3 million Jamaicans now live abroad, outnumbering the 2.7 million who have remained on the island.

Anthony Hylton, industry, investment and commerce minister, said: "Achieving sustained economic growth, with jobs, remains the biggest challenge and the most intractable problem facing Jamaica.

"This focus on growth and development is, therefore, very critical if we are to break the vicious cycle of stagnated growth and poverty."

The conference is being held in Montego Bay, where Jamaica's flourishing call centre industry is based.

There are around 55 companies and organisations in attendance, trying to form a plan for development moving forward.

Jamaica's national debt stands at around 150 per cent of its gross domestic product, making a push for more investment from expatriates all the more urgent.

A debt-swap programme was launched in the country in February in order to create a new pact with the International Monetary Fund, which is preventing an economic crisis, but a more permanent solution needs to be found.

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