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Smart Aid In Jamaica


A student shows off technology in Jamaica.

Public-private partnerships will boost small enterprises, bring technology to schools and improve sanitation and clean water in Jamaica.

Aid to developing countries should be seen as an investment, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told a forum on aid effectiveness.

“I believe it must serve as a catalyst to spark self-sustaining progress,” she said. “We need new types of public-private partnerships, new mechanisms for sharing technology, and new ways to align your business interests with development goals.”

This kind of innovative thinking is already taking root around the world. One example, is USAID’s work in Jamaica. USAID has created three public-private partnerships on the island country, that will boost small enterprises, bring technology to schools and improve sanitation and clean water.

The first partnership, between USAID and The Jamaican National Building Society, will create a Social Enterprise Boost Initiative. This program will support ten small enterprises, including one that will serve young people, and a women-operated program geared toward helping women and children. In the past, USAID has worked with this bank to improve financial inclusion in Jamaica.

The second partnership is with Caribbean food processing company GraceKennedy Ltd. and The Western Union Company, which is a money transfer firm. This program will train teachers and bring technology to 13 schools in Jamaica. Through this program, more than one thousand students will receive computer and national job skills certification.

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, a United Kingdom charity, is also partnering with USAID in Jamaica. This three-year partnership will work toward providing access to sanitation and clean water in a neighborhood of Jamaica’s capital. Through this work, the program will also create small enterprise in the area.

The effect of USAID’s aid to Jamaica expands exponentially with these public-private partnerships. The projects are valued at more than $7 million. USAID’s contribution is less than $2 million.

The Secretary of State’s Office of the Global Partnership Initiative (S/GPI) also recently launched an exciting initiative to engage diaspora entrepreneurs from around the Caribbean, including Jamaica, in enterprises in their countries of origin. The Caribbean IdEA Marketplace (or CIM) was launched as a major initiative of the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance — a public-private partnership platform launched by Secretary Clinton in May 2011. The Caribbean IdEA Marketplace was launched in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, Digicel, and Scotiabank.

“We need every provider of assistance at the table, emerging and traditional, public and private,” said Secretary Clinton. “And we need to make sure we get past the old divisions so we can deliver results for everyone.”

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