Written by Steve Monroe
June was a positive month for the Haitian economy. Despite the global economic downturn, Haiti’s continued parliamentary deadlock and the appointment of a second Prime Minister in the last year, the IMF released a country report predicting a 4.5 – 5.5 % growth rate this year because of the island’s “ sustained dynamism in the commercial sector and manufacturing industries, as well as a good a harvest.” Less than a week a later, new data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean revealed that Haiti will lead the Caribbean in GDP growth for the second consecutive year.
Additionally, the Inter Development Bank pledged $US12 million to help boost Haiti’s energy sector and another $US15 million to reform the island’s agricultural policy. The Clinton-Bush Haiti fund also promised $US2.59 million in grants and loans to four businesses and to workforce development programs.
The tourism industry continues to develop rapidly. Eight world-class hotels – including the Marriott – are in the process of planning, construction or expanding current properties. The Haitian government expects $US200 million in tourism investment this year alone. President Clinton toured Haiti for two days at the end of the month to encourage even more investment and tourism.
On the political front, a new constitutional amendment will give Haitians living abroad the right to own land and run for lower levels of office. This legislation will help integrate Haiti’s large Diaspora into the island’s recovery.
Finally, the International Organization of Migrants announced that Haiti’s camp population has fallen by 75% in the last two years. Additionally, the government revealed plans to deploy solar streetlights to towns and marketplaces on an island where most inhabitants are still without regular access to electricity.
Photo Credit: Google Images