Greetings to my fellow Jamaicans and Caribbean Nationals at home and in our colonies around the world. I would like to use my position as a businessman operating in what is the financial capital of the English Speaking World [London] to propose that the Jamaican government sets up a Sovereign Wealth Fund.
What is a Sovereign Wealth Fund?
A sovereign wealth fund is a pool of money owned by the state which is invested for the benefit of its citizens and economic structure.
Where does the seed money for sovereign wealth funds usually come from?
The funding for a sovereign wealth funds (SWF) come from central bank reserves that accumulate as a result of budget and trade surpluses and even from revenue generated from the exports of natural resources. (Investopedia
Botswana has a SWF derived from revenue from its diamond and mineral industry. Angola and Nigeria have SWF derived from its oil industry.
Where will our seed money come from?
I know you’re going to say that Jamaica is a poor country which has to borrow money to survive. But I say that if as a country we lived by the rule of Warren Buffet which is to spend what is left after saving [instead of saving what is left after spending) then we could allocate some of our tax revenue from our various prime industries towards the development of the population. I’m talking about aggressive saving and investment, not the sort for the faint of heart. This money would be matched by pension funds set up by Caribbean National Business Leaders in our colonies in the developed world. These pension funds would match the investment of the Jamaican and possibly Trinidadian governments with seed money from the incomes of Jamaicans and Trinidadians of the first, second, third and fourth generations living overseas.
How would the fund be managed?
First off let me say that the fund would be sovereign in name but would represent collaboration between governments and multinational organizations. The fund would be managed from London where it would be beyond the scope of partisan politics and where the knowledge, expertise and technology is concentrated to make sound financial decisions. The managers would be selected by a board which would include government finance ministers and multinational company finance directors who would represent the sources of the seed funding of the fund and whom the managers would report to.
What is the point of all of this?
The point of pooling our resources in a fund and putting it under central management is to better ourselves. I run a recruitment and relocation consultancy the objective of which is to harness energy which is now being lost through “brain-drain”. We see the world as a system in which human resources are neither created nor destroyed, they simply change form. We believe that if we invest in the education of one Jamaican or Trinidadian engineer who then relocates to one of our colonies in the developed world and then invests a portion of their income into our Sovereign Wealth Fund then the effects of “Brain Drain” would have come full circle.
What would the fund invest in?
Once all the money has been collected by whatever genius method we come up with it is how it is spent that will make an impact or just be a flash in the pan. I would like to open the floor for a debate as to what a Caribbean and Jamaican led Sovereign Wealth Fund should invest in. I propose that this fund should invest in shortage area education with a view to placing well trained, educated and certified people in our colonies overseas. These people would lead from the front by encouraging and networking with their colleagues and fellow nationals to create an environment where investment in our homeland is recognized and valued as a worthwhile spend of disposable income.
In layman’s terms, we would collect money to spend on people who would encourage other people to spend money on our people. And so the cycle would continue as long as it has thoughtful leadership.
My name is Peter Campbell writing from London United Kingdom and I am putting this idea out there for the governments and people of the Caribbean to look into.