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Haiti Observer Blog

Haiti recently Hosted Global Speakers for Tech Summit Festival

Tech Summit is an effort to accelerate the United Nations' sustainable development goals. Haiti Tech Summit brought thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, digital marketers and innovators under one roof together to address humanity's greatest challenges. The Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE) is an organization created with the aim of accelerating startups from emerging markets; it is the first and largest digital accelerator network in the world with a mission to digitize offline startup ecosystems. GSE is the 'event sponsor' of Haiti's 2017 Tech Summit Festival.

The Haiti summit was a historic event with the participation of 100 global speakers flying from the top startup capitals of the world such as Silicon Valley, Dubai, New York, and London. Some of the most popular world Tech startups and important media participating in the summit include Uber, AirBnB, Google and "Inc Magazine", "Ebony Magazine", "Black Enterprises", and "Forbes".
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The summit has been organized with three primary objectives. (i) As an annual meeting point the participants and entrepreneurs can discuss and exchange their ideas and practices at regular intervals. (ii) It serves as a central platform for showcasing advances in the rapidly growing technologies and (iii) To assist in the formation of an annual partnership program towards achieving UN's 17 sustainable development goals (such as, No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health, Quality Education, Gender Equality, etc.) to transform our world.

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Black Lives Matter answering to the call from Haiti

Following the crippling Hurricane Matthew on October 2016, Black Lives Matter(BLM) Cambridge partnered with a number of Haitian organizations (Vertiver, Kouraj, and Kolectif Kay Kok- Sakage) to send aids to a number of grassroots associations. BLM has extended long term support by supplying resources to repair damaged homes, install solar posts, and provide water purifiers and donated specific items like LED lamps, solar panels, water filters, etc for as many communities as possible.

Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization in the United states that is working for the validity of Black life. It is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates the United States of America. It was was created in 2012 after 17-year old Trayvon Martin's murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime.

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Extension of protected status for Haitian immigrants (TPS)

TPS is designated to a foreign country if conditions in the country temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, if the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. Thus, as per the latest announcement, the Haitian immigrants living in the U.S on TPS have to leave America within January 22, 2018 instead of the earlier dateline of July 22, 2017. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of a designated country, and eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country who are already in the United States.

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Haiti's public debt at $ 2,771 million, 33.5% of Haitian GDP

In 2016, Haiti's public debt at $ 2,771 million reached 33.5% of Haitian GDP and that translates to $255 per individual citizen. As per recent reports (dated May 27, 2017), the national and international debt of the Republic of Haiti hovers around US$3 billion out of which $1 billion represents internal debt and $2 billion of external one.

An 'External Debt' (or foreign debt) is the total debt of a country due to the foreign creditors while an 'Internal Debt' (or domestic debt) is the part of the total government debt in a country that is owed to lenders within the country.

If we compare this debt amount with other neighboring Caribbean countries, we might understand the relative soundness and solvency of the Haitian economy.

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United States Government Issued Warning to Persons Wishing To Visit Haiti

Wishing To Visit Haiti should take special care while travelling the areas of Pétion-Ville and the storm-damaged southern peninsula departments of Grand Anse and Sud. This travel warning replaces department's earlier warning dated November 4, 2016. The warning also advises U.S citizens of evacuation insurance, not to share specific travel plans with strangers. American travelers should maintain constant touch with their hosts or prearranged organizations.

As per John Kelly, the Secretary of the U.S Department of Homeland Security, Americans traveling Haiti must remain cautious while visiting banks, ATMs, because the Haitian authorities' ability to respond to medical or security emergencies is very weak, limited and often in some areas, it is non-existent. The announcement ignores the fact that hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Haiti each year.

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Is it worth it to apply for the 6 month extension of TPS for Haitians?

On May 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a 6 month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for some 58,700 Haitian immigrants who have been living in the United States since the 2010 earthquake.

To re-register, you must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. You must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, whether you are requesting employment authorization or not. As a re-registrant, you do not pay the Form I-821 application fee, but if you are age 14 or older, you must submit the biometric services fee. The fee for biometric services is around $85.

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Former FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner Investigated On Haiti Earthquake Fund

As per the BBC report dated Tuesday, June 9 2015, the former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner is being investigated over the disappearance of money intended for victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The former FIFA President visited Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and pledged $750,000 from football's world governing body and the South Korean Football Association to support the reconstruction program in the country. FIFA contributed $250,000 and $500,000 was paid by the South Korean Football Association by the courtesy of one of their patrons, South Korean businessman Chung Mong-Joon. The Haitian authority claims that they have received only $60,000 from Mr. Warner, as the then head of CONCACAF. A team of U.S investigators have found that the fund was ultimately transferred to a personal account controlled by Mr. Warner himself; and whereabouts of the earthquake fund is still unknown. The source has also indicated that there are about 75 bank accounts, directly or indirectly connected to Mr. Warner, but none of them clearly indicates any location of the fund.

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Haiti welcome Google, Facebook, Silicon Valley for tech summit

On Tuesday and Wednesday and Ednesday of this week, the place to be was at the Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa in Haiti where social entrepreneurs, influencers and startup innovators kicked off a two-day technology summit.

The Haiti Tech Summit brought into the country over 100 speakers representing Google, Facebook, Uber and Airbnb. The summit will cover topics such as how to launch a startup, the importance of smart cities and branding, hoping to transform Haiti into a hub of innovation.

The sold-out event at the Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa had more than 450 attendees.

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PNH arrested four Haitians involved in a U.S. visas fraud

The Haitian National Police (PNH) with collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, arrested four Haitian citizens

Here is how the Haitians committed the fraud:

The scammers posing as U.S. Embassy employees contacted the people applying for the US Visa in Haiti and their family in the United States.

The scammers made the applicants or their family members believe that the applicants owed thousands of dollars in fees for DNA tests, medical exams and other processing fees, and instruct the victims to transfer the money to them immediately by Western Union or other methods of online transfer

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Grant To Small-Scale Sorghum Farmers Supply Local Markets In Haiti

There are many good news for the Haitian sorghum producers. Two companies, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Papyrus, a project management firm with experience in agribusiness have come forward to their assistance. MIF has recently approved $2.4 million grant to help the small-scale sorghum farmers under a 4-year project named "Smallholder Alliance for Sorghum in Haiti (SMASH)" which would be implemented under supervision of 'Papyrus'. The objective of the project is to enhance the skills for about the 18,000 sorghum farmers in five Haitian departments (North and North East, West, South, Artibonite, and Plateau Central) and support their marketability. SMASH also addresses issues like poor soil quality and efficient harvest yields.

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