PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- "The key to achieving sustainable development in Haiti is to drive it through local initiatives and decentralized cooperation," said Haiti's Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul.
Speaking to an international audience during the two-day "Invest in Haiti Forum" sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Clinton Foundation, Mayard-Paul urged investors to expand their thinking to the opportunities waiting outside Haiti's urban areas.
Decentralization is a cornerstone goal of the Martelly administration, and private investment is pivotal to making the President's vision for a decentralized Haiti a reality. Mayard-Paul stressed the many compelling opportunities for private companies in helping revitalize and renovate Haiti's infrastructure, particularly outside of Port-au-Prince.
"Infrastructure development is not only a key element in accelerating decentralization; it's also an incredible investment opportunity," he added, pointing out that the Inter-American Development Bank, is fully committed to supporting local development and decentralization.
Attracting more than 1,000 national and international participants from 29 countries, the "Invest in Haiti" forum underscores Haiti's new approach to nation-building and sustainable economic growth. Describing Haiti as "ten thousand plus square miles of opportunities filled with an enthusiastic work force," Mayard-Paul reiterated the importance of investment in the heartland.
To encourage and reassure interested parties that Haiti is a viable country in which to invest, Haiti is making adjustments to the current legal framework in key areas such as democratic governance, rule of law, tax incentives, land reform and other measures that will ensure investors enjoy the most favorable conditions to realize positive results while contributing to the good of the people of Haiti.
During the conference, Mayard-Paul echoed President Martelly's message that Haiti wants investors to profit, so Haiti can prosper.
"By investing in Haiti," President Martelly said, "you will contribute to our sustainable future -- helping to create prosperity for the nation and for our people -- for generations to come."
With the Martelly administration diligently working to build a new business eco-system that will ensure "a socially just, economically free, and politically independent Haitian nation," the new vision of Haiti, "...does not end with reconstruction but rather, begins with renovation -- the renovation of Haiti's economic system, which animates the social and political dynamism of democracy."
U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth H. Merten endorses Haiti's new track: "Investment is the real key to making the Haitian people more prosperous, which in turn will make the Haitian nation more independent and sovereign."
Social infrastructure projects that work to improve the social conditions of low-income rural communities, such as health, sanitation, rural education, community organization and training, are a priority. As an example, Minister Mayard-Paul highlighted an ambitious health and sanitary program slated for Haiti's Southwestern Grand' Anse region. The program, valued at US $700,000, will benefit 80,000 families.
According to Mayard-Paul, agriculture is one of the key sectors where partnerships, joint ventures and other collaborations would have a positive, long-term impact, accelerating decentralization and job creation in rural areas. "Roughly half of Haiti's population is involved in agriculture, a sector that currently represents over 25 percent of the nation's GDP," he stated.
Outlining investment opportunities in the heartland, the Minister of the Interior, highlighted several exemplary projects including the nearly $55 million investment by Royal Caribbean International in cruise tourism and Give-Eco Energy's $100-million joint-venture green energy project. This project will deliver 50MW of green energy and provide over 5,000 new jobs that will benefit underserved areas.
"The Haitian government is committed to facilitating investment," underscored Minister Mayard-Paul. "We are ready to assist with municipal initiatives throughout Haiti -- in any of our regions -- and we look forward to collaborating for sustainable development that advances decentralization and captures the ten-thousand-plus square miles of opportunities available."
SOURCE Ministry of the Interior of Haiti