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Jamaica (2008)

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Jamaica 2008 year

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
Age structure 0-14 years: 32.5% (male 459,968/female 444,963)

15-64 years: 60.1% (male 822,486/female 848,310)

65 years and over: 7.4% (male 91,856/female 112,549) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; crustaceans, mollusks
Airports 34 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 11

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 5 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 23

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 21 (2007)
Area total: 10,991 sq km

land: 10,831 sq km

water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative slightly smaller than Connecticut
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, and 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.
Birth rate 20.44 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $3.441 billion

expenditures: $3.905 billion (2007 est.)
Capital name: Kingston

geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 76 48 W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
Coastline 1,022 km
Constitution 6 August 1962
Country name conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Jamaica
Death rate 6.59 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $7.138 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Brenda LaGrange JOHNSON

embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6

mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5

telephone: [1] (876) 702-6000

FAX: [1] (876) 702-6348
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador Gordon SHIRLEY

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
Disputes - international none
Economic aid - recipient $35.74 million (2005)
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 and are equivalent to tourism revenues. Jamaica's economy, already saddled with a record of sluggish growth, will suffer an economic setback from damages caused by Hurricane Dean in August 2007. The economy faces serious long-term problems: high but declining interest rates, increased foreign competition, exchange rate instability, a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 135%. Jamaica's onerous debt burden - the fourth highest per capita - is the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably the financial sector in the mid-to-late 1990s. Inflation also has declined, standing at about 7% at the end of 2007. High unemployment exacerbates the serious crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade. 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.
Electricity - consumption 6.131 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 6.985 billion kWh (2005)
Elevation extremes lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m
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
Ethnic groups black 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6% (2001 census)
Exchange rates Jamaican dollars per US dollar - 69.034 (2007), 65.768 (2006), 62.51 (2005), 61.197 (2004), 57.741 (2003)
Executive branch chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Kenneth O. HALL (since 15 February 2006)

head of government: Prime Minister Bruce GOLDING (since 11 September 2007)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

elections: none; the monarch 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 is recommended by the prime minister
Exports 0 kWh (2005)
Exports $2.229 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 1,531 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities alumina, bauxite, sugar, bananas, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels
Exports - partners US 30.2%, Canada 15.6%, China 15.2%, UK 10.3%, Netherlands 7%, Norway 4.6% (2006)
Fiscal year 1 April - 31 March
Flag description diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 5%

industry: 34%

services: 61% (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 1.5% (2007 est.)
Geographic coordinates 18 15 N, 77 30 W
Geography - note strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 35.8% (2004)
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
Imports 0 kWh (2005)
Imports $5.709 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 71,420 bbl/day (2004)
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 39.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 13.6%, Venezuela 9.5% (2006)
Independence 6 August 1962 (from UK)
Industrial production growth rate 2% (2007 est.)
Industries tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications
Infant mortality rate total: 15.73 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 16.4 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 15.01 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 7.1% (2007 est.)
International organization participation ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Irrigated land 250 sq km (2002)
Judicial branch Supreme Court (judges appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister); Court of Appeal
Labor force 1.255 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 17%

industry: 19%

services: 64% (2006)
Land boundaries 0 km
Land use arable land: 15.83%

permanent crops: 10.01%

other: 74.16% (2005)
Languages English, English patois
Legal system based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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 are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: last held 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
Life expectancy at birth total population: 73.12 years

male: 71.43 years

female: 74.9 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school

total population: 87.9%

male: 84.1%

female: 91.6% (2003 est.)
Location Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Map references Central America and the Caribbean
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
Merchant marine total: 13 ships (1000 GRT or over) 161,700 GRT/241,663 DWT

by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 2, carrier 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 3

foreign-owned: 12 (Denmark 1, Germany 1, Greece 8, Latvia 2)

registered in other countries: 1 (Panama 1) (2007)
Military branches Jamaica Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Wing (2007)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 0.6% (2006 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 6 August (1962)
Nationality noun: Jamaican(s)

adjective: Jamaican
Natural hazards hurricanes (especially July to November)
Natural resources bauxite, gypsum, limestone
Net migration rate -6.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
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)
Population 2,780,132 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 14.8% (2003 est.)
Population growth rate 0.777% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 10, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
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)
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.034 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.816 male(s)/female

total population: 0.978 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
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; mobile-cellular teledensity now exceeds 100 per 100 persons; the number of fixed-lines in use has been declining

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)
Telephones - main lines in use 319,000 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular 2.804 million (2005)
Television broadcast stations 7 (1997)
Terrain mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Total fertility rate 2.36 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 10.2% (2007 est.)
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