Report Underlines Value of Private Investment in Securing Haiti's Growth
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Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, January 28, 2011—Haiti can achieve GDP growth of 6–8 percent over the next decade, if the right public policies are put in place, the national and international private sector become increasingly engaged, and support from the international community is sustained.
This is the finding of the World Economic Forum’s report, Private Sector Development in Haiti: Opportunities for Investment, Job Creation and Growth, launched today in partnership with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and IFC. The full report is available at http://www.weforum.org/HaitiReport2011.
“Despite the challenges, Haiti possesses the economic fundamentals to experience sustained growth. However, it cannot achieve it alone. The private sector played an important and innovative role in supporting humanitarian assistance to Haiti right after the earthquake and now it has an equally important role to play in helping Haiti achieve an accelerated economic trajectory,” said Robert Greenhill, Managing Director and Chief Business Officer, World Economic Forum. “The World Economic Forum hopes this joint report will lead more companies to consider the investment opportunities presented in Haiti.”
The report outlines opportunities for businesses in Haiti and measures taken to encourage private sector engagement such as the development of Special Economic Zones, which are areas identified by the government as fast-track zones for commercial development to be equipped with the infrastructure and regulatory framework to attract business. The World Bank and IFC are actively engaged with the Haitian government to improve its investment climate.
“The World Bank Group remains committed to helping Haiti catalyse private investment and improve the business environment. We are convinced that the private sector is essential for Haiti’s long-term development, to create jobs and help the country break its dependence on aid,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO. “This joint report highlights the opportunities and challenges in improving Haiti's investment climate, in particular business regulation, access to basic infrastructure, logistic and financial services, and access to skills. Multilateral banks, donors, the government of Haiti, and the private sector should develop the framework that will address these challenges.”
The report outlines specific areas where the private sector can become involved, highlighting opportunities in construction and infrastructure development, agriculture, manufacturing, finance, tourism, and energy. A specific example from the manufacturing sector is the IDB’s recent announcement of its support along with the United States government of a $250 million deal to develop an industrial park in the north that is expected to generate as many as 65,000 jobs.
“Haiti has countless needs, but what it desperately requires to climb out of poverty is more jobs,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “Our goal is to persuade several companies from diverse industrial sectors to set up shop in the north, not only to boost employment and economic activity outside of Port-au-Prince but also to change common risk perceptions about Haiti, so that many more investors may follow them.”
Finally, the report highlights examples of how international businesses are actively engaged in mutually beneficial partnerships designed to help grow Haiti’s economy. Under a public-private partnership structured by IFC, Haiti’s government and central bank (Banque de la République d’Haiti – BRH) signed an agreement with Vietnam’s largest mobile telephone operator Viettel for $99 million. The agreement has led Viettel to commit significant investments, including the construction of Haiti’s first nationwide fibre optic backbone.
The report concludes by calling upon the international private sector to realize its potential to improve the situation by investing in Haiti stressing that despite clear challenges profitable investment opportunities exist today in Haiti and increased private sector engagement will create further investment opportunities in the future.
This report has benefited from a broad multistakeholder steering committee that features representatives from the Haitian and international private sector, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and multiple governments demonstrating extensive support for Haiti’s potential for a prosperous future.