Former United States President and United Nations envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton, recently led a group of representatives of the Agricultural Investment Delegation, while on a visit to Haiti, to the Smallholder Farmers Alliance's (SFA) tree nursery in Gonaïves. There, the foundation, started by and named for President Clinton, awarded a grant to the SFA cooperative of $150,000 USD with the aim of supporting the efforts of the organization to facilitate growth, manage and improve its nursery operations and give it sustainability.
The endowment follows the impetus of the bigger initiative launched by Clinton, Richard Branson and Mohammed Yunus to reforest Haiti as it further calls for an equal number of trees to be planted and maintained. The Gonaïves nursery is in a central place of focus for this project, being in the very region where the planned ten thousand hectares of land to be donated to agriculture is located.
The Clinton Foundation, Virgin Unite and Yunus Social Business have teamed up to re-forest Haiti. The three entity's, backed by three of the world's most influential men, former US President Bill Clinton, billionaire Richard Branson and microfinance creator and peace prize winner Mohammed Yunus, seek not just to replant what has been lost over the past 500 years, but to provide employment, timber, and food while creating a model for programs that can bring positive change to the country. The initiative, called Haiti Forest, has the promise of ten thousand hectares of land from the Agriculture and Environment Ministries in the Artibonite and northern regions of Haiti, and is said to be a Social Business, promoting social benefit over privatized profiteering.
Haiti has welcomed public figures, including British business tycoon Richard Branson, at the grand opening of the Caracol industrial park. Branson, an airline business magnate, joined United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in launching the $300-million industrial park located in the city of Cap Haitien. The park, which was a project of South Korean apparel company Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd., spans 246 hectares.
With the Caracol industrial park, the country's job market is expected to improve in the coming years. As a matter of fact, more than 60,000 jobs will likely be generated when companies and businesses start operating in the park. Though critics are doubtful that the multi-million project can end poverty in the country, officials are confident that it would be the start of a real progress. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton urged everyone, including the investors, business partners and Haitians, to work together to ensure the project's success. She said that the project requires a collective effort in order to produce the best results.
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