Jamaica: Financial Development, Access and Inclusion: Constraints and Options

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Nov 2018
Despite tremendous strides in recent years toward economic stabilization, debt reduction, and structural reform, financial sector development and access in Jamaica lag behind peers. Development-related indicators have remained stubbornly static over the past several decades, including with respect to poverty rates, income equality, economic informality, and the vibrancy of the private sector. In this context, a combination of economic and policy-related factors, as well as geographic, social, and demographic issues have all influenced the development of Jamaica’s financial sector. Recent improvements in institutional capacity, policy discipline, and structural measures suggest that there is considerable scope to accelerate financial sector development and to broaden access and inclusion. This paper aims to review a number of metrics and indicators related to financial market development, highlight some country-specific challenges facing financial deepening and inclusion, and put forward recommendations regarding areas for reform. The government’s first ever national financial inclusion strategy launched in 2016 is also discussed.