Chinese Investment in the Caribbean: Turning Opportunity into Growth

by Sara Ghebremusse

How can Caribbean countries optimize the growth effects of foreign direct investment (FDI)? This paper explores the possibilities for Chinese investment in Jamaica, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. 

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States continue to depend on foreign direct investment (FDI) as a source of external finance in mineral and petroleum based industries, tourism, and the financial sector. As the People’s Republic of China strengthens its position as a global economic leader following the 2008 recession, its developing country partners, and notably CARICOM countries, are becoming more reliant on its investment. This situation has drawn criticism from the Caribbean development community as to the lack of real impact of Chinese investment on local communities or sustainable economic growth. This paper uses case studies to explore Chinese investment in tourism in the Bahamas, sugar production in Jamaica, and energy in Trinidad and Tobago, and proposes strategies that may be used to restructure or expand investment to support growth in these sectors.

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