Business & Finance
This is related to the business and financial issues related to Haiti and the Haitan community. We discuss issues such as job opportunities, how to create a business in Haiti, how to finance a project, and more.
On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, President Martelly inaugurated the port of Petit-Goâve in the presence of both the Director General of Customs (AGD) and the Director General of the National Port Authority (APN). The construction of the port in an area covering 52 square meters took ten months to complete with a State fundings of $2.3 million.
The new port has been renovated with new customs offices and bonded warehouses built in accordance with the ISPS Code (International Code Ship and Port Security). It has the capacity to receive 2,000 tones boats along a long coastline of 1,500 meters. The construction work was a part of the area development work for enhancing competitiveness and overall development of Haiti.
The 9th summit China-Latin America and Caribbean (LAC CHINA) that was held recently at the Palace of Communication and Culture of Guadalajara in Mexico from October 13-15 2015 was quite an eye opening event for several Chinese companies. Out of 1,500 Chines investors present, many were interested in the textile revolution that seems to be taking place in Haiti. At least 10 potential Chinese entrepreneurs are interested in visiting Haiti's National Society of Industrial Parks (SONAPI).
These companies are focusing in textile and footwear as key sectors for investment. They are also interested in building infrastructure and bio-agriculture as well in Haiti.
In Spring Valley, discrimination is well alive, specially against Haitians. The Newspaper Pennysaver has recently posted an ad placed by Interim Healthcare Inc. that clearly stated that no Haitians need to apply. Am I going back to the 1940s and 1950s when certain groups in America were clearly advised not to apply for a specific position?
The ad that appeared in a Pennysaver October 15th edition was made by Interim Healthcare Inc. and ironically, to be published in the Rockland County Pennysaver. The ad was for a female nursing position in West Haverstraw. This is by the way an area with a large Haitian population. "No Haitians" would be considered for employment according to the ad.
World Bank Group Emphasizes More Social Inclusion of Poor Haitians
The World Bank Group (WBG) has made available to the public a report, "Haiti: Towards a New Narrative", in which they analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Haiti five years after the earthquake. Although the island has experienced a significant growth rate of about 3.3% in the period 2011-2014, it is losing momentum. The report states, ". . . economic growth has been too slow and not favored the poorest."
Donor funding is on the wane and trading services for land and property grants has also dropped off. The report urges organizing more resources to raise revenues; employing best practices for better administration of public monies; and prioritizing expenditures. The positives in the report include reduction of dire poverty and sustainment of the macroeconomic balance.
From just an observation, I see Haiti as a country with a lot of needs and also lot of opportunities. Often people will tell me that Haiti is "Vierge" or it is a virgin, not yet exploited, with unlimited opportunities. I think being a country with lots of opportunities is a good thing. People with great entrepreneurial mind will take the advantage that the country offers within seconds.
So my obvious question is: If Haiti has such great opportunities why is it that capable Haitians do not take advantage of it?
Should we say there is a lack of entrepreneur minds capable of exploiting all the resources available such as manpower, absence of competition, a consuming population. Let me remove from the equation the first likely defense from those who think they are entrepreneurs and want to justify their inaction. Government doesn't run a country, interest groups do. Most people who come to power often have a long long tell of campaign contribution, groups with specific powers that actually dictate what can be or can't be done. Haiti is not different, we do have these established power; however their focus is on destruction and not construction. A clear example would be collective forces to finance coup d'Etat in Haiti.
There is a new project to help all public servants in Haiti to obtain their own home. With this plan, anyone working for the government either as Civil servant or Agents of Public Service will be able to borrow money from the bank guaranteed by the government. The loan will be for up to 15 years at an annual rate of 6 percent.
This project is a proposition by the Ministry of Finance. The loans can only be used for home construction or home renovation. To make repayment easy, it will be taking directly from the employee's salary.
Haitian monetary authorities are remaining mum as the devaluation of the gourde has helped contribute to an economic crisis within the country. The devaluation is connected to neo-liberal policies promoted by U.S. democratic institutions.
Platform Advocating for Alternative Development in Haiti (PAPDA) Director, Camille Chalmers says the neo-liberal economic development model is a two-edged sword. The upside is it increases Haiti's competitiveness in the global marketplace. The downside is it lessens the purchasing power of Haitian workers, paid in gourdes.
Adding to the crisis, according to Chalmers, are impending fall elections for state and local offices and the presidency. Rumors have been circulating elections won't be held, leading to more government instability. As a result of such predicted developments, people are uncertain, closing their accounts at Haitian banks and sending their money overseas. Chalmers warns, "These issues could cause a social explosion of unrest" He is referring to the 2008 food shortage violent demonstrations.
The 6th Business Investment Expo & Conference 2015 is held to encourage competition among nations in the Caribbean.
This year Haiti Renewal Alliance (HRA) collaborated with World Bank Group to present forums on energy, information, and technology. Other primary partners include U.S. Chamber of Commerce and USAID.
HRA Expo was established in 2010. Since then 3,000 business, investor, and government groups have exchanged ideas and best practices for sustainable growth in the Caribbean.
It is not all that bad in Haiti. While we continue to fight among ourselves, Seoul-based company Hansae is planning to take full advantage of the Hope Act by building a new apparel factory in Haiti. They just signed an agreement with Sonapi Industrial Park on Tuesday with the objective to build a new, fully equipped plant.
They will be able to create over 5,000 new jobs in Haiti.
As the company is looking at becoming even a bigger competitor in the apparel field, Haiti is the most attractive location for them at this time. Hansae is considered to be one of the world's largest apparel makers. They currently employ over 60,000 employees from 11 countries. They currently manufacture for companies such as Nike, Gap, H&M, Uniqlo and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Political instability in Haiti and its effect on tourism sector. The Hotel de Plaza was the site of a conference on the tourism industry in Haiti. The topic concerned incentivizing investment under the Investment Code. The support and advice of the Tourism Association of Haiti (ATH); the Interministerial Investment Commission (CII); and Investment Facilitation Center (CFI) would be provided.
Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin, Haiti's Minister of Tourism and Creative Industry, gave a presentation that reviewed the progress of the tourism industry from 2011-2015. The government, she said, funded a series of investment projects along with international partners that amounted to 345 million-plus USD. Among them were:
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