Importance of Haitian Diaspora to Haitian Economy

The Haitian Diaspora has a vital role in helping Haiti revitalize its economy. One of its contributions is to Haitian families, overwhelmingly poor and dependent on remittances to provide for themselves.

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Education is another area in which monetary support of the Diaspora is needed. Remittances have been estimated at up to 30% of Haiti's gross domestic product, essential to President Martelly's push to offer free public education to all Haitian children. He wants to tax wire transfers that could amass a broad projection of $50 million upward. The only obstacle is having enough political capital, ensuring the Diaspora will send money through wire transfers instead of other means.

Haitian small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) need the Diaspora's financial support to develop their business processes. In a prudent move, Martelly has had the Constitution amended to give dual citizenship to encourage investment in business ventures.

With 1.2 million Haitian-Americans many of them successful businesspeople as potential investors, business partners, and innovators, the Diaspora could contribute to long-term solutions to Haiti's rise up the economic index.

Public and private partnering, with the Diaspora's help, is urgently needed to reclaim Haiti's growth potential as an economy. The U.S.'s LEAD Investment initiative is connecting with the Diaspora's investment capacity to focus on the SMEs, the back-bone of Haiti's economy.
One other important growth-producing sector, the tourism industry, needs the Diaspora's cooperation to realize its goal of developing north Haiti into a "world-class tourism destination".

In essence, the Diaspora has a large and important role to play alongside development banks, non-government organizations, and wealthy individuals.

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