‘Keep De Rates Dem Low’: Jamaica Sets Inflation Fight To Reggae Beat

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Reggaenomics
The Bank of Jamaica has enlisted the help of reggae musicians to teach the people about inflation and other monetary policies. In this June 13, 2019 photo, members of the all-female band ADAHEZ, Chevanese Palmer, from left, Karissa Palmer, Gabeana Campbell, Tashana Barnett and Shadeeka Daughma, pose for a photo on the steps of the Bank of Jamaica, in Kingston. Jamaica’s central bank thinks the country’s economy is doing very well and it is using an instantly recognizable symbol of the island to get this message to the people: reggae music. (AP Photo/Collin Reid)

Music is universal and the Bank of Jamaica is using it to teach people about monetary policy. Dubbed “Reggaenomics” by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Jamaica’s central bank has recruited popular Reggae artists to educate the masses about inflation targeting, GDP growth, monetary policy, etc.

The innovative campaign was created by Tony Morrison, the central bank’s director of public relations. His background in talent booking and media gave him the inspiration years ago, but he couldn’t implement it until Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ Administration gave him the green light.  

Jamaicans have always marched to the drum of their own beat, now they’re using reggae to teach about inflation that way too.

“Things like inflation targeting … are the type of things that everyone should know about, and the best way to reach the people of Jamaica is through reggae,” Morrison told WSJ.

The goal is show that inflation and other monetary policies the bank implements are not always a bad thing, Quartz reported. Morrison and his colleagues want “to build public support for a government policy designed to bring economic stability to a country that has long been a financial basket case,” WSJ wrote.

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The people of Jamaica “…  just don’t understand yet why (inflation being) too low is bad. When we start aiming for 3%, or one day maybe 2%, we’ll have to explain why we’re not aiming for 1% or 0,” Morrison said. 

The campaign comes after Jamaica has suffered economically for years from high inflation and debt. Though reports show the country is on an economic rebound, there is still a long way to go. To help the Jamaican people get on board with what it will take to maintain the upswing, the songs are really catchy and feature artists like all-female band Adahzeh, actor and musician Ice Man, reggae star Tarrus Riley and more.

Lyrics range from “Inflation’s not the enemy if we control it, if it’s too high, the people have a cry …” to “low and stable inflation is to the economy what the baseline is to reggae music.”

In addition to the songs and music videos, Morrison said the campaign takes a multimedia approach and includes TV ads, billboards and radio spots. While the campaign was created to reach the Jamaican people, Morrison said he is pleasantly surprised by the way it is resonating across the globe.

“I’ve been blushing a lot,” Morrison told Quartz.