Jamaica has joined the growing list of nations which have signed on to the Chinese One Belt and One Road Initiative (BRI), which promises significant economic and infrastructural development.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, signed the non binding Memorandum of Understanding, MOU with Chinese Ambassador, Tian Qi (“Chi”) this afternoon..
While no projects have been identified at its outset, Minister Without Portfolio, Mike Henry, is hoping this will move the proposed Gansu Industrial park in St. Elizabeth to the top of the queue.
Minister Johnson Smith, says she’s confident the Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, also known as the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, will result in significant gains for Jamaica and China.
Jamaica is the fifth Caribbean nation to sign on to the initiative. Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Guyana and Barbados have signed. Through the initiative, the Chinese are expected to invest heavily in a country’s infrastructure and economy.
Minister Johnson Smith says the BRI has the potential to bring employment and growth to Jamaica.
Minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mike Henry also noted the significance of the agreement.
He’s hoping the previously proposed Gansu Industrial Park will see a boost from the BRI. The proposed six-billion US dollar development in Nain St. Elizabeth is expected to generate 60-thousand jobs for Jamaicans.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, Tian Qi, says preferential benefits will flow to the country from signing on to the BRI.