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Jamaica

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Background:
The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually obtained increasing independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.



Location:
Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba

Geographic coordinates:
18 15 N, 77 30 W

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Area:
total: 10,991 sq km
country comparison to the world: 167
land: 10,831 sq km
water: 160 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Connecticut

Land boundaries:
0 km

Coastline:
1,022 km

Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin

Climate:
Current Weather
tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

Terrain:
mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m

Natural resources:
bauxite, gypsum, limestone

Land use:
arable land: 15.83%
permanent crops: 10.01%
other: 74.16% (2005)

Irrigated land:
250 sq km (2002)

Total renewable water resources:
9.4 cu km (2000)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.41 cu km/yr (34%/17%/49%)
per capita: 155 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
hurricanes (especially July to November)

Environment - current issues:
heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston results from vehicle emissions

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:
strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal



Population:
2,847,232 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138

Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.7% (male 445,034/female 430,368)
15-64 years: 61.7% (male 867,078/female 889,811)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 96,254/female 118,687) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 23.9 years
male: 23.4 years
female: 24.5 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.747% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140

Birth rate:
19.47 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101

Death rate:
6.48 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151

Net migration rate:
-5.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165

Urbanization:
urban population: 53% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 14.91 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 125
male: 15.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.48 years
country comparison to the world: 112
male: 71.8 years
female: 75.25 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.21 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.6% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
27,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67

Nationality:
noun: Jamaican(s)
adjective: Jamaican

Ethnic groups:
black 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6% (2001 census)

Religions:
Protestant 62.5% (Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%, Pentecostal 9.5%, Other Church of God 8.3%, Baptist 7.2%, New Testament Church of God 6.3%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.3%, Anglican 3.6%, other Christian 7.7%), Roman Catholic 2.6%, other or unspecified 14.2%, none 20.9%, (2001 census)

Languages:
English, English patois

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 87.9%
male: 84.1%
female: 91.6% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2003)

Education expenditures:
5.3% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 56



Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Jamaica

Government type:
constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Capital:
name: Kingston
geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 76 48 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
14 parishes; Clarendon, Hanover, Kingston, Manchester, Portland, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann, Saint Catherine, Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, Trelawny, Westmoreland
note: for local government purposes, Kingston and Saint Andrew were amalgamated in 1923 into the present single corporate body known as the Kingston and Saint Andrew Corporation

Independence:
6 August 1962 (from the UK)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 August (1962)

Constitution:
6 August 1962

Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dr. Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Bruce GOLDING (since 11 September 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general; the deputy prime minister recommended by the prime minister

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (a 21-member body appointed by the governor general on the recommendations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; ruling party is allocated 13 seats, and the opposition is allocated 8 seats) and the House of Representatives (60 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 3 September 2007 (next to be held no later than October 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - JLP 50.1%, PNP 49.8%; seats by party - JLP 33, PNP 27

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister); Court of Appeal; Privy Council in UK; member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)

Political parties and leaders:
Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Bruce GOLDING]; People's National Party or PNP [Portia SIMPSON-MILLER]; National Democratic Movement or NDM [Michael WILLIAMS]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
New Beginnings Movement or NBM; Rastafarians (black religious/racial cultists, pan-Africanists)

International organization participation:
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PetroCaribe, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Anthony JOHNSON
chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660
FAX: [1] (202) 452-0081
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires Isiah PARNELL
embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6
mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5
telephone: [1] (876) 702-6000
FAX: [1] (876) 702-6001

Flag description:
diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side); green represents hope, vegetation, and agriculture, black reflects hardships overcome and to be faced, and yellow recalls golden sunshine and the island's natural resources



Economy - overview:
The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for more than 60% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances account for nearly 20% of GDP, but have declined 15% since the onset of the Global recession. Tourism revenues account for 20% of GDP, and arrivals have remained strong, up 4% in 2009, although total revenues have declined due to discounts offered to retain visitors. The economy faces serious long-term problems: a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 130%. Jamaica's onerous debt burden - the fourth highest per capita - is the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably to the financial sector in the mid-to-late 1990s. The Government of Jamaica signed a $1.27 billion, 27-month Standby Agreement with the International Monetary Fund for balance of payment support in February 2010. Other multilaterals have also provide millions of dollars in loans and grants. The government's difficult fiscal position hinders spending on infrastructure and social programs, particularly as job losses rise in a shrinking economy. The GOLDING administration faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order to maintain debt payments, while simultaneously attacking a serious and growing crime problem that is hampering economic growth. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$23.24 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
$24.26 billion (2008 est.)
$24.5 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$12.06 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
-4.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 183
-0.9% (2008 est.)
1.5% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,200 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
$8,700 (2008 est.)
$8,800 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 30.1%
services: 63.9% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
1.311 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 17%
industry: 19%
services: 64% (2006)

Unemployment rate:
12.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
10.6% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:
14.8% (2003 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 35.8% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
45.5 (2004)
country comparison to the world: 40
37.9 (2000)

Investment (gross fixed):
24.6% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47

Budget:
revenues: $3.422 billion
expenditures: $4.795 billion (2009 est.)

Public debt:
124.5% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
115.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
9.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
22% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
NA%

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
16.83% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 30
17.2% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$1.253 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 106
$1.373 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$4.244 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 89
$4.554 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$7.175 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 84
$6.609 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$6.127 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 72
$7.513 billion (31 December 2008)
$12.33 billion (31 December 2007)

Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; crustaceans, mollusks

Industries:
tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications

Industrial production growth rate:
-11.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146

Electricity - production:
7.324 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100

Electricity - consumption:
6.345 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Oil - consumption:
77,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148

Oil - imports:
77,720 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159

Current account balance:
-$776 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
-$3.038 billion (2008 est.)

Exports:
$1.444 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
$2.5 billion (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels

Exports - partners:
US 38.19%, Canada 12.2%, UK 10.79%, Norway 4.89%, Netherlands 4.69% (2009)

Imports:
$4.554 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
$7.547 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials

Imports - partners:
US 28.32%, Trinidad and Tobago 22.98%, Venezuela 12.14%, China 4.61%, Brazil 4.18% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.736 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
$1.773 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$11.55 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
$10.65 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Jamaican dollars (JMD) per US dollar - 88.674 (2009), 72.236 (2008), 69.034 (2007), 65.768 (2006), 62.51 (2005)



Telephones - main lines in use:
316,600 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 112

Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.723 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 113

Telephone system:
general assessment: fully automatic domestic telephone network
domestic: the 1999 agreement to open the market for telecommunications services resulted in rapid growth in mobile-cellular telephone usage while the number of fixed-lines in use has declined; combined mobile-cellular teledensity reached 110 per 100 persons in 2008
international: country code - 1-876; the Fibralink submarine cable network provides enhanced delivery of business and broadband traffic and is linked to the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) submarine cable in the Dominican Republic; the link to ARCOS-1 provides seamless connectivity to US, parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 4, FM 24, shortwave 0 (2008)

Television broadcast stations:
7 (1997)

Internet country code:
.jm

Internet hosts:
3,961 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 137

Internet users:
1.54 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 73



Airports:
27 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 123

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 7 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 15
under 914 m: 15 (2009)

Roadways:
total: 21,552 km
country comparison to the world: 108
paved: 15,937 km (includes 33 km of expressways)
unpaved: 5,615 km (2005)

Merchant marine:
total: 20
country comparison to the world: 99
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 6, carrier 1, container 4, roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 17 (Denmark 2, Germany 4, Greece 6, Hong Kong 1, Latvia 1, Russia 3) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Kingston, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Port Rhoades, Rocky Point



Military branches:
Jamaica Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Wing (2010)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; younger recruits may be conscripted with parental consent (2001)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 712,627
females age 16-49: 730,845 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 581,033
females age 16-49: 590,437 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 32,723
female: 32,098 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159



Disputes - international:
none

Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for cocaine from South America to North America and Europe; illicit cultivation and consumption of cannabis; government has an active manual cannabis eradication program; corruption is a major concern; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Jamaica for illicit financial transactions

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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