My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Animation after KingstOON - World Bank Invests US$20 million in Jamaican Animation BPO Brother from another Mother with Great Expectations

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Animation after KingstOON - World Bank Invests US$20 million in Jamaican Animation BPO Brother from another Mother with Great Expectations

“Given the interest expressed recently by global companies, and the demands of the industry, there is good reason to believe that, with the right talent, these numbers are achievable. In other words, an investment of just a few million dollars focused on training as well as on showcasing Jamaica's animation industry globally can be expected to pave the way for the country to absorb tens of millions of dollars in foreign exchange”

Excerpt from World Bank's Project Document 'Youth Employment in the Digital and Animation Industries'

After the successful JANN (Jamaica Animation Nation Network) at UTECH on Saturday July 26th 2014 between the hours of 11:00am – 2:30pm at UTECH (LT10A) as detailed in my blog article entitled “JANN to host Intellectual Property Workshop at UTECH – How Independent Animators can Make money from Animation and thwart Copyright Infringement”, the World Bank seems to want to throw us a bone.

Or should that be a Loan of  US$20 million, which the World Bank will be investing over a five years  as detailed in “Jamaica can earn big money from animation”, published Wednesday, July 30, 2014 BY STEVEN JACKSON Business Reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

In their recently published project document “Youth Employment in the Digital and Animation Industries” they've projected the Jamaican Animation Industry to grow by US$69 million ($7.7 billion) over a five (5) year period. Hence they've decided to invest, with the money going to train some 15,000 Jamaicans, of which 2,800 are expected to be Animators.

This would raise the total count from the current 100 Animators on the island over the next five (5) years, making us more attractive to Local and FDI (Foreign Direct Investors), with possible benefits for Independent Animators.

World Bank Invests in Animation – 30 Years to repay at a12% p.a. and 280% Rate of Return

According to the World Bank, they expect the Jamaican Animation Industry to earn that projected total of US$69 million over the five years as follows:

1.      Year 1 - US$5.4 million
2.      Year 5 - US$47.8 million

That's basically US$15 million between Year 2 and Year 4! Granted, this isn't much when compared to the Call Center Industry who make some US$350 million annually as pointed out in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Center - 8000 Jobs coming after US$33 million Loan from DGB floated for 8 Call Centers”. The World Bank Loan is repayable over a period of 30 years with an initial non-payment period of five and a half (5½) years.

This loan started back in April 2014 around the same time the World Bank's formed a partnership with the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) aptly dubbed the US$120-million Country Partnership Strategy (CPS). This US$120 million loan runs until 2018, and the World Bank's US$20 million five (5) year investment is a part of that long term strategic push towards the year 2020. That US$20 million loan to develope a US$69 million Jamaican Animation Industry is broken down as thus:

1.      US$10 million towards Training Animators at their very own Training School
2.      US$5.6 million to a tech incubator named Startup Jamaica
3.      US$1.6 million to support venture capital loans for Animation startups

US$7.2 million is left unaccounted for, suggesting that this may end up being used over the five (5) year period to expand the Animation Industry, both BPO driven and Independent Animator. So Animation is finally getting some attention on a level similar to Call Centers, despite the skepticism of JANN spokesman Kevin Jackson, quote: “We haven't seen how they calculate the figures and we are not privy to the document”.

That’s some pretty confident bet, especially as they claim a loan rate of 12% per annum on the loan and a rate of return of some 280% on their initial investment, to quote the World Bank: “Despite these conservative assumptions, and using a discount rate of 12 percent, the net present value for the animation component of the project is a staggering $69 million and the Internal Economic Rate of Return is 280 percent”.

Animation vs Call Centers – BPO Brother from another Mother with Great Expectations

Although the intention is to have the Animation Industry structured in a manner similar to the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), the Call Center Industry is a lot more advanced. In fact, this year, the Call Center Industry is set to receive some US$33 million in loans from the DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica) to build some 8 Call Centers and employ some 8000 persons.

Thus loans to the Animation industry to encourage investors to invest in the Jamaica Animation Industry sound logical. Most likely, just like the Call Center Industry, it'll be geared not only to the construction of new Animation Studios but also to the training of Jamaican Animators.

This is a copy of the strategy being used by the BPIAJ (Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica) Chairman Yoni Epstein to float a US$900,000 ($100.8 million) Loan from the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) to build a Call Center Agent Training School in Montego Bay as stated in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Centers - BPIAJ Call Center Agent Training School for US$900,000 as Montego Bay Freezone Expands”.

Good to see the Government of Jamaica via the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining betting on Jamaica's future by creating an army of Animators to tackle the estimated US$220 billion annual Global Animation Industry.

This suggests that the other US$100 million may end up being borrowed by the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining to support projects other than Animation, possibly Video Game Design, another Cash Cow that Jamaica's yet to tap into as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Netzoo's 2014 Global Games Market Report - Developed World idle time Opportunity for Jamaicans in Video Gaming Design”.

Stay tuned as the Jamaican Animation Industry gets ready to fly!

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