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The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.


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Economy

Economy - overview
The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for nearly 65% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances account for nearly 15% of GDP and exports of bauxite and alumina make up about 10%. The bauxite/alumina sector was most affected by the global downturn while the tourism industry was resilient, experiencing an increase of 4% in tourist arrivals. Tourism revenues account for roughly 10% of GDP, and both arrivals and revenues grew in 2010, up 4% and 6% respectively. Jamaica's economy faces many challenges to growth: high crime and corruption, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 120%. Jamaica''s onerous public debt burden is the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably to the financial sector in the mid-to-late 1990s. In early 2010, the Jamaican government created the Jamaica Debt Exchange in order to retire high-priced domestic bonds and significantly reduce annual debt servicing. The Government of Jamaica signed a $1.27 billion, 27-month Standby Agreement with the International Monetary Fund for balance of payment support in February 2010. Other multilaterals have also provided millions of dollars in loans and grants. Despite the improvement, debt servicing costs still hinder the government''s ability to spend on infrastructure and social programs, particularly as job losses rise in a shrinking economy. The SIMPSON-MILLER administration faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order to maintain debt payments, while simultaneously attacking a serious crime problem that is hampering economic growth. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 118
$25.07 billion (2011 est.)
$24.69 billion (2010 est.)
$25.05 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$14.81 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 170
1.5% (2011 est.)
-1.4% (2010 est.)
-3.1% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 116
$9,100 (2011 est.)
$9,000 (2010 est.)
$9,200 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 5.8%
Industry 29.5%
Services 64.7% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 132
1.324 million (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 17%
Industry 19%
Services 64% (2006)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 133
12.7% (2011 est.)
12.4% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line
16.5% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 2.1%
Highest 10% 35.8% (2004)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 39
45.5 (2004)
37.9 (2000)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 88
20.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget
Revenues $3.797 billion
Expenditures $4.69 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 121
25.6% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 175
-6% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 7
125.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
126.2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 161
7.5% (2011 est.)
12.6% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate
2% (31 December 2010 est.)
NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 34
19.51% (31 December 2011 est.)
16% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 126
$1.962 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$1.797 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 114
$7.309 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$6.165 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 106
$7.426 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$7.253 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 78
$7.223 billion (31 December 2011)
$6.626 billion (31 December 2010)
$6.201 billion (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
Sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; shellfish

Industries
Tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 155
-2% (2010 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 102
7.323 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 104
6.4 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 109
505.7 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 90
63,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 165
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 66
90,520 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 146
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 196
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 190
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 120
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 80
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 190
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 145
-$2.063 billion (2011 est.)
-$934 million (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 146
$1.613 billion (2011 est.)
$1.37 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels

Exports - partners
US 37%, Canada 18.1%, Netherlands 7.3%, UK 5.4%, Norway 4.3% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 118
$6.292 billion (2011 est.)
$4.629 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials

Imports - partners
US 33.9%, Venezuela 15.5%, Trinidad and Tobago 14.6%, China 6.6% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 118
$2.273 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$2.501 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 85
$14.7 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$13.87 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates
Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar -
85.892 (2011 est.)
87.196 (2010 est.)
87.89 (2009)
72.236 (2008)
69.034 (2007)

Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March


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  Jamaica (Kingston):


  GPS points from Jamaica (Kingston)

Newlands Parish Of Saint Catherine

Magotty Cove Hanover Parish

Port Morant Parish Of Saint Thomas

Gun Barrel Hill Parish Of Manchester

Great Pedro Pond St. Elizabeth

Bog Parish Of Westmoreland

Blue Mountain Ridge Jamaica (general)

Milk River Bay Parish Of Clarendon




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