Addressing the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility’s (CCPF) dialogue on unleashing innovation in Jamaica at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel today, The Minister said “The institutional capital available to pursue growth inducing, risk-taking activities is severely limited. There is great need to expand access to capital to those who are committed and motivated to pursuing their innovations. For that reason, we are going to change the investment limits for pension funds so that they can invest in venture capital.”
This, the Minister said, is important for unleashing and expanding innovation and entrepreneurial activity in Jamaica. “When we move the limit from 0 to 5%, based on the JM$550 billion in pension funds, over JM$25billion in capital will be available for investing in venture capital. That is a game changer for innovation, for opportunity, and for growth,” he noted.
Additionally, Minister Clarke noted that in the context of entrenching macroeconomic stability, where the Government of Jamaica is pursuing low, stable and predictable inflation, it is no longer possible to satisfy pension liabilities by investing in government bonds. As such, we are going to have to take risks and so we are going to allow pension funds trustees to take risks.
Minister Clarke highlighted that investing in people, expanding the application of knowledge, changing aspects of our culture with respect to risk-taking, and increasing access to finance are critical in supporting Jamaica’s innovation ecosystem. Dr. Clarke also noted that, “Jamaica is hitting the ground running as there is innovation, enterprise, and discovery already taking place in Jamaica.”
CCPF is a partnership between the Caribbean Development Bank, Canada, Inter-American Development Bank and the UK Department for International Development.
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