While doing research for “Repositioning Brand Jamaica: A Social Media Approach”, the paper I will be presenting at the inaugural Brand Jamaica symposium this month, I came across some seriously depressing facts and statistics about our beloved country.
Grouped together, they paint a picture of a country headed for disaster, unless we do something about it.
- ‘Brand Jamaica’ is estimated to be worth between US$33 – 35 billion, but the island loses about US$20 billion of this economic value due to increasing problems with trademarking Jamaican products overseas. (Source)
- In most countries across the world, any third party can register a trademark a product with the name ‘Jamaica’ with no association with the country. (Source)
- Jamaica has the sixth highest murder rate in the world, according to the 2013 Global Study on Homicide report. (Source)
- The country ranks 85 out of 175 countries on the Corruption Perception Index, which ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. (Source)
- In 2006, TIME Magazine dubbed Jamaica ‘the most homophobic place on Earth’. This article is still referenced today. (Source)
- A recent documentary, “Young and Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens” highlights the struggles of the LGBT community in Jamaica, also gained significant attention, but representatives of the country have not acknowledged or responded to the issues raised in the film. (Source)
- While there was overall growth experienced by most of the countries closest to Jamaica with similar tourism offerings (Bahamas, Cuba, Dominic Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico) between 2008 – 2013, Jamaica experienced a decline in year over year growth. (Source: World Bank)
- Jamaica is one of the slowest growing developing countries in the world, with real per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increasing at an average of approximately one percent per year over the past 30 years. (Source)
- The debt to GDP ratio, which was estimated to be about 140% at the end of the 2014/15 fiscal year, is also among the highest in the developing world. (Source)
- Jamaica’s financial well-being is the lowest in the Caribbean region, ranking 115 on the Financial Well-Being Index out of 145 countries, below Haiti (109) and Greece (113). (Source)
- Unemployment has consistently risen since 2008, with a high of 16.5% of the workforce unemployed in 2013 and youth unemployment more than twice the national rate. (Source)