Haitian Leaders Maintain Strong Focus on Attracting Investments leading to Job Creation
In a Club de Madrid Conference held at Port-au-Prince, Jorge Quiroga, the former president of Bolivia, and Jose Maria Figueres, the former president of Costa Rica, conferred with the Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Growth and Investment (PACEGI) and Haitian business leaders regarding investment opportunities waiting within Haiti’s mining and eco-tourism sectors.
According to Haiti’s Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, who welcomed the former presidents and other conference attendees, the key objective of this Conference is to explore these untapped opportunities with the goal of attracting investments that will accelerate our vision for sustainable economic development based on decentralization and job creation. Job creation is a top priority for the Martelly administration, whose goal is to create 500,000 jobs over the next 36 months.
Drawing on Costa Rica’s success as an ecotourism destination, Figueres discussed best practices for the sector, pointing out that development is about more than opening your borders; it is about creating jobs and investment opportunities. Think of activities as clusters of economic activities, he said, adding that decentralized energy generation, smart grids and carbon credits are considerations for developing Haiti’s eco-tourism sector.
In looking at successful eco-tourism models in the region, Minister Mayard-Paul recently interviewed leaders in the Dominican Republic, including visionary tourism pioneer Frank R. Rainieri, the force behind the development of Punta Cana Resort & Club. Currently, Punta Cana is the Caribbean’s most highly visited destination, yet is a resort community that respects the natural habitat of the area while offering visitors a world-class vacation experience. Figueres advised Haitian officials to benchmark with the best in class not just Caribbean neighbors, but also look at Singapore, Ireland and Israel.
Bolivia’s Quiroga shared mining best practices, emphasizing that stable politics and a stable economy are essential for attracting investors to this sector. To bring in all the investments you can, you need broad-based legislation providing the right legal framework. He also advocated creating a strong Civil Service to ensure capacity within the government to partner with investors.
Haiti’s Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul told the audience that in working on multiple fronts to attract investment to Haiti, the Martelly administration continues to present new economic development opportunities, such as mining. The possibilities for extracting Haiti’s deposits of gold and copper will benefit the Haitian people and foreign investors alike, driving job creation and economic development especially in our northeast regions — in full alignment with our vision for decentralization.
Mining presents substantial potential for Haiti, according to Quiroga, who referenced the rich deposits in the Dominican Republic’s Pueblo Viejo mine, the fourth largest active goldmine in the world. This mine is in the northern Dominican Republic and it runs very close to the Dominican Republic /Haiti border, he said. So the thought is that between that factor and similar typography in the region there could be significant gold reserves in Haiti. Several other mining companies have expressed initial interest in potentially exploring Haiti as a mining destination.
Minister Mayard-Paul noted that Haiti is in the process of updating its mining laws, which mining executives evaluate as needing some updating and expansion to ensure natural resource protection, proper remediation and benefits to the impacted communities.
Regarding benefits to the communities, Quiroga presented ideas for linking mining revenues to conditional cash flows to the poorest pockets of Haiti. When public and private sectors collaborate, and work together in partnership, ventures such as mining and eco-tourism can bring positive benefits to everyone, said Mayard-Paul. Our government is doing its part to provide the political will and robust regulatory framework that will insure that projects are well managed and investments are secure. Now, we need investment dollars, and investors with bold ideas.
This was the seventh high-level mission to Haiti for Club de Madrid, who has assisted Haitian leaders since the January 2010 earthquake. In addition to being members of Club de Madrid former presidents Quiroga and Figueres are also dedicated members of President Martelly’s PACEGI composed of former world leaders and business dignitaries dedicated to promoting foreign investments in Haiti as a way to develop prosperity for the Haitian people.