A historical signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and the United Kingdom-based Caribbean Enterprise Network (CEN-UK) is expected to see millions of dollars in investment flowing into the exchange from the Jamaican diaspora in the United Kingdom.
General manager of the JSE, Marlene Street-Forrest and CEN-UK founding member, and Denis St Bernard signed the document on Friday, the final day of the Jamaican Diaspora Convention, held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande, Ocho Rios, St Ann.
The agreement represents the first solid achievement since the diaspora movement began around eight years ago and sees both parties agreeing to work at staging joint activities to promote growth of Jamaica-affiliated companies in the UK and encouraging them to do business with Jamaica.
At the signing, Forrest said the MOU should see investments from the UK more than double within the coming year.
"In terms of the $3 billion that has been raised in the exchange in just over a year, only four per cent represent the diaspora. We want, within a year, to move that number to even 10 per cent.
"This is a pivotal moment, because what we aim to do is to ensure that the UK diaspora and Jamaica work together in terms of achieving certain objectives. It is a partnership, so we expect that both organisations will benefit."
The stock exchange boss said the JSE would be looking at the businesses with a view to get them interested in either coming to the market or working with investors.
"And this is commitment to you," she told St Bernard. "Within the year, before the next conference, you should see companies that are in the UK doing business with the Jamaica Stock Exchange, you should also be seeing a growth in the number of investors."
St Bernard, whose network represent over 250 small and medium enterprises, said the signing represents a win-win situation.
"The challenge now is to get the message effectively to the wider diaspora; this signing is the first formal business link we've had since the beginning of the dias-pora, the first formal structure," he said.
Friday's signing was a culmination of negotiation that started around there years ago and will allow both parties to collaborate on activities such as trade missions, meetings between UK and Jamaican businesses, seminars, workshops and round-table discussions.