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Jamaica eyes Bollywood, IT for investment
By Amitabh Sharma,

Kingston (Jamaica), Nov 23 The next Bollywood blockbuster might be heading for this West Indies island, or a call centre executive sitting in Montego Bay just might answer the next time you call your bank.

India is the new buzzword for Jamaica. And, riding on the success of the high profile visit of the Jamaica Tourism Board's brand ambassador, cricket legend Courtney Walsh, a business delegation of JAMPRO - Jamaica's trade and investment facilitation agency - is in India to garner investment.




"This is the first ever trip to India undertaken by JAMPRO," said Jason Hall, business director of the delegation, before his departure Monday.

"The aim of this trip is to build on the existing bilateral agreements and explore the full gamut of possibilities."

JAMPRO has defined information communications technology (ICT) and creative industries as the two key areas they would like to focus on during their 10-day visit.

The eight-member group will tour New Delhi, Mumbai - India's financial capital and home to Hindi cinema popularly known as Bollywood - and Bangalore, the country's IT hub.

The group will meet key Indian officials to review bilateral agreements and establish cultural exchange events to introduce Jamaican music, fashion and dance to India.

India's fast growing economy, currently pegged at eight percent annually, the unprecedented rise in foreign direct investment, which stood at $1.46 billion in 2005, and India Inc's plans to expand globally have made the country a viable option to explore investment opportunities in Jamaica.

According to JAMPRO, this initiative will be part of a preliminary thrust to establish contact, introduce Jamaica as an investment destination and to provide a first hand insight into the operations of the targeted companies in the various sectors.

Another aim of the visit is to showcase the country to the Indian film industry, believed to be the largest in the world. An estimated 800 films are produced annually, more than 200 in Bollywood alone that itself a $1.3 billion industry.

"We see potential as the Indian film industry is ballooning out to the rest of the world," said Hall.

The delegation will promote Jamaica as a location for filming, explore prospects of joint ventures and seek to develop strategic relationships with media houses in India.

Jamaica is also promoting itself as a near shore IT destination for the Indian business process outsourcing (BPO) service providers. The island nation will encourage medium-sized Indian telecom companies to set up broadband access.

Jamaica is leveraging on its pool of English speaking, trainable and educated work force, its telecommunications infrastructure and proximity to the US as defined USPs.

The business group will seek Indian partners for developing Jamaican functional foods sector, besides holding discussions on the possibilities of partnering in the areas of education.

The focus will also be on developing strategic alliances with Indian universities and institutions for training for IT, medicine, nursing and biotechnology among others.




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