A New Day in Haiti

Posted by Thomas C. Adams
October 24, 2012
Secretary Clinton at USAID-Funded Housing Complex Near Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of accompanying Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to Haiti. The trip marked Secretary Clinton's first visit to the northern region of the country to see more of the restoration since the traumatic earthquake of 2010. Before and since the earthquake, Haiti has faced great challenges -- ones the government and people of Haiti are working to confront and to lead the international community in helping them solve.

In our work in the Administration on behalf of Haiti, we have looked for ways to promote sustainable economic growth. And we have also partnered in a serious manner with the government, because we wanted our priorities to be following Haitian priorities. That is the only way that those priorities will translate into lasting accomplishments for the people of Haiti.

In its National Action Plan, the Haitian government expressed its desire to create centers of economic development outside of Port-au-Prince to spur economic growth and bring jobs to Haiti's underserved regions. The Caracol Industrial Park is a first step toward achieving this goal, bringing together the Haitian and U.S. governments, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd. -- Korea's leading garment manufacturer. This first major public-private partnership is expected to bring permanent jobs to Haiti. The park is projected to initially create 20,000 permanent jobs through Sae-A's investment alone. Ultimately, the industrial park has the potential to create up to 65,000 direct jobs once fully developed. At a ceremony in November 2011, the first stone was laid in the park. On Monday, October 22, Secretary Clinton joined President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, local and national elected officials and others at the park's formal opening.

During the opening ceremony, Secretary Clinton delivered remarks on “A New Day in Haiti,” and it truly was. As we walked through the factory at Caracol, we saw some of the more than 1,000 Haitians working towards a better future. Many of the employees we met were women who had never before held a job in the formal economy. As we toured the facility, all I could think was that this park made clear something we've been saying to everyone: Haiti is open for business.

For our part, the United States is encouraging more investment in Haiti by cutting down trade barriers for textile and apparel exports, and we're also doing it in a way that respects the country's environment and resources and re-invests in communities. Now, in the years to come, there will be demand for more infrastructure, whether it's building roads, expanding the power grid, or improving and even building ports. There's a lot of opportunity in crafts and artisan work, in tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. And of course, Haiti has an unmatched trading partner in the United States just a few hundred miles away.

We see this partnership between governments and the private sector as absolutely essential in promoting and supporting long-term prosperity in Haiti. We have been united behind a single goal -- making investments in this country's people and infrastructure that place Haiti on the path to broad-based economic growth with a more vibrant private sector and less dependence on foreign assistance. Long-term prosperity for the Haitian people cannot come from just the provision of aid; there must be trade and investment.

The U.S. government -- and the American people -- have been a steadfast partner in Haiti's efforts. We have made a decision in this Administration to make Haiti a foreign policy priority. As Secretary Clinton said, the United States is committed to the work we are doing in Haiti, and we believe in Haiti's promise.

Editor's Note: In the accompanying photograph, USAID/Haiti engineer Mario Nicoleau (from left) briefs Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Moreno, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, former Haiti President Rene Preval and current Haiti President Michel Martelly on USAID-funded housing near the Caracol Industrial Park on Oct. 22, 2012. You can view more photographs of the Secretary's visit here. (Photo copyright Kendra Helmer/USAID)



Howard S.
District Of Columbia, USA
November 2, 2012

Howard S. in Washington, D.C. writes:

Glad to see things happening in Haiti. Surprised there's no mention of USAIDthat the USAID/Haiti Mission Director seems to have been left out of the event marking a USAID-funded housing site and USAID-constructed 10-megawatt power facility.


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