The Real Story behind Job & Investment in Haiti

Investment and modernization are the two main keywords for economic development in Haiti. However, improving foreign direct investment and creating permanent employment in Haiti is not as simple as it sounds. The real unemployment rate at Haiti was never properly assessed. Among the unemployed, there are many adults who do not have any formal identification documents. There is no exact statistical data on the total size of Haitian labor force.


Many still consider investment in Haiti is a risky proposition. Political climate is not favorable, enacting new law in the country is almost impossible, transparency is rare, cost of transportation and energy is too high, goods remain static in the customs unnecessarily, ports are not work-efficient, and there are many more displeasing reasons.

The current administration, as a measure to get the country moving forward, has set many programs to attract foreign investment. Since the devastating earthquake in 2010, the country has emphasized foreign investment over foreign aids and relief. The Center for Facilitation of Investment (CFI) was established by a presidential decree back in January 2006. This is distinct from an investment bank, it is an agency that facilitates investments. The government has set to offer tax holiday or income tax exemption for 15 years to certain businesses in the country.

Presently, CFI is working efficiently to attract foreign investment with a catch phrase "Haiti is Open for Business" with endorsement from some of biggest Haitian friends like former US President, Bill Clinton. However, it is often felt that CFI is more focused on big international investors; its message has failed to reach a greater part of Haitian Diaspora and small investors within the country who might have interest to do business in the country. Moreover, the earlier initial registration charge of $2500 initiated by CFI as "One Click Business" was considered relatively high by many investors.

However, it is too early to judge the strategy taken by a state that has just opened up for investment.

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