Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jamaica at 50

On your marks, get set…oh

Half a century after Jamaica’s independence from Britain, its economy is struggling to get out of the starting blocks

THE world is used to trailing behind Jamaican sprinters. The small island has won a string of world records, and may claim more at the 2012 Olympics. Its economy, however, is not so speedy: on current forecasts it will finish the year with the slowest average growth rate since 2000 in the Americas—behind even earthquake-stricken Haiti. On August 6th Jamaica will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence. But the festivities will be muted by frustration with its performance.
The Jamaican economy should by rights be booming. The island is just a 90-minute flight away from the United States, the world’s biggest market, with which it shares a language. It is on the shipping route to the Panama Canal, and has a spacious natural harbour in Kingston. It is politically stable, without the ethnic tensions that have riven other Caribbean nations.
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