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An aerial view of New Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: wikicommons)

Gov’t of Jamaica, IDB launch InvestmentMap to improve transparency

An aerial view of New Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo: wikicommons)

Jamaica yesterday (November 5) became the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to join the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) regional InvestmentMap initiative after the Government of that country and the hemispheric bank launched InvestmentMap Jamaica.

In recent years, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and Peru have launched InvestmentMap platforms under the initiative, and more countries are still joining.

(Photo courtesy of IDB)

InvestmentMap Jamaica is an online interactive portal that tracks the country’s public investment projects and makes information available to citizens in a user-friendly map-based format.

While expressing his satisfaction with the launch of the InvestmentMap Jamaica portal, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service Nigel Clarke noted, “It is aligned with the Administration’s objectives and will also help make our public investment system more efficient, at a time when we cannot afford to waste one dollar,”

Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Services Dr Nigel Clarke (Photo: JIS)

Clarke also underscored the significance of the portal in bringing more transparency and accountability to Jamaica’s public sector.

Access to information

Since the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service (MOFPS) will have oversight of the portal, its Public Investment Management System will directly provide information on Government-funded projects as well as those with funding from donor agencies.

So far, MOFPS has uploaded 78 projects onto the platform.

As an interactive platform, citizens, NGOs, private companies, or other stakeholders can provide comments, ask questions and submit their own pictures of projects.

Persons accessing the platform will be able to search data by parish, sector, and source of funding, among other criteria. Information available includes the financial and physical progress of the project. Project Managers can also upload pictures and videos of their projects.

“I commend the government of Jamaica for being first in the English-speaking Caribbean to implement InvestmentMap. I hope more will follow and I am aware that other governments have already expressed interest,” Therese Turner-Jones, general manager for the Caribbean Country Department at the IDB, remarked.

Therese Turner-Jones, general manager, Caribbean Country Department — Inter-American Development Bank (Photo: Caribbean Camera)

Increased accountability, transparency

“These platforms represent a key first step to strengthen the accountability loop for public officials in our region. This, in turn, is critical to strengthen people’s trust in the public sector at this challenging time.”

In addition to increasing transparency, the project aims to strengthen the performance of public investment projects. A recent study on the performance of the platform in Costa Rica indicates that InvestmentMap can help accelerate the financial progress of projects by 18 per cent and the physical progress by eight per cent, compared to projects not included in the platform.

The implementation of InvestmentMap in Jamaica will therefore result in close coordination among MOFPS, the IDB Jamaica Country Office, and InvestmentMap team based across Latin America and the Caribbean. The platform complements important reforms in the Jamaican public sector and of its public investment management system, both recently completed and currently in progress, including with support from the IDB and World Bank.