USAID established its presence in Jamaica in 1962, the same year the country achieved independence. Historically, U.S. assistance priorities in Jamaica have focused on promoting greater transparency and good governance practices; fostering Jamaican participation in regional security; strengthening basic education; reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS; promoting economic prosperity; and decreasing vulnerability to climate change. In addition to direct foreign aid, USAID implements programs in Jamaica under two regional mechanisms: the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Since the early 1970s, USAID has supported loans and grants to Jamaica, primarily focused on policy reform, trade facilitation, and microenterprise development. USAID has been instrumental in the establishment of institutions such as the Jamaica Agricultural Development Foundation, the Fair Trading Commission, the National Development Foundation of Jamaica, the College of Agriculture, Science, and Education, the Mona Institute of Business, and the Institute of Management and Production. USAID also helped establish Jamaica’s first private development bank (Trafalgar Development Bank) to promote and assist privately-owned businesses. USAID also provided critical technical assistance that facilitated the consolidation of three former tax departments into the new Tax Administration Jamaica.
Today, USAID partners with the Jamaican Government to expand and strengthen the nation’s capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to natural disasters and other climate change impacts. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, USAID provided $150,000 to HelpAge International, a relief partner, to address critical needs, including access to safe drinking water, temporary housing and shelter materials, and livelihood recovery activities.
In addition, USAID works with a number of stakeholders to promote entrepreneurship and workforce readiness for at-risk youth, create linkages in various export markets, and provide access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises. USAID has a number of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) with Jamaican entities to provide assistance in working towards important development goals.
Thousands of Jamaican students, from early childhood to tertiary levels, have benefited from the implementation of innovative education programs by USAID. Major projects have included: the establishment of the Mona School of Business and collaborating with UNICEF on its Transitions to Primary School project; the New Horizons for Primary Schools project; the Expanding Educational Horizons project; the Uplifting Adolescents Project; the Caribbean Center for Excellence in Teacher Training; and the USAID/Jamaica Basic Education Project.
Under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States government (USG) created a Caribbean regional HIV prevention and care program in 2009. This program is guided by a Partnership Framework between the USG and 12 Caribbean countries, one of which is Jamaica. The primary goal of PEPFAR is to support the Government of Jamaica’s efforts to reduce the transmission of HIV over the next five years, with a focus on most-at-risk populations and other vulnerable populations.
USAID’s commitment to citizen safety and security began in 2001 with investments to inner city communities focused on creating safe environments where economic opportunities could prosper. USAID partnered with the Kingston Restoration Company to increase employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and improving the communities’ capacity for conflict resolution. In the same communities where economic investments were occurring, USAID partnered with the Jamaica Constabulary Force implement community policing as a type of law enforcement.
USAID is committed to continuing its work in developing safe and secure communities. This can only be accomplished with the support of citizens as well as community leaders, government, and law enforcement officials. USAID remains dedicated to creating a secure and prosperous future for Jamaica.
Last updated: February 19, 2014