Thursday, June 17, 2010

Haiti: Haitian Prime Minister urges U.S. business community to 'Invest and Grow With Haiti'

Haitian Prime Minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, made it clear that South Florida investors can play a critical role in the $11.5 billion post-earthquake rebirth of his nation. Speaking at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce trustee luncheon at Jungle Island on June 16, the prime minister emphasized the unprecedented opportunities awaiting visionary investors interested in growing in partnership with a "new," more modern and democratic Haiti.

"International partnerships and investments will be critical cornerstones as we lay the foundations for a 'New Haiti.' Those who have a vision and those who believe, will have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in Haiti's re-birth, while seizing exceptional business prospects," said Prime Minister Bellerive, inviting the 400 business people in the audience to "grow along with us as we rebuild our nation."

According to Bellerive, the blueprint for rebuilding Haiti calls for improved infrastructure including new seaports, airports and roadways along with favorable legal frameworks that will create excellent opportunities for investors across the spectrum of Haiti's agro-business, manufacturing, trade and tourism sectors. Maria Alonso, chairwoman for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, agrees with Haiti's potential: "We are optimistic that Haiti will be able to rebuild and have a rebirth. The Chamber believes that there are business opportunities in Haiti as it emerges from this tragic event."

Bellerive pointed out that private investments are vital for the successful reconstruction of Haiti and stressed that the mechanisms for ensuring transparency and accountability are in place. He also announced that the first formal meeting of the full Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (HICR) will take place tomorrow in Port-Au-Prince, to review projects under the Reconstruction Plan and approve fund disbursement. The meeting will count with the participation of former President Clinton -- Commission co-chair -- along with Prime Minister Bellerive, as well as representatives from the Haitian and international delegations.

Representatives from Haiti's private sector, who were present at the event, expressed their support for the government's Reconstruction Plan. "The Prime Minister articulated the Reconstruction Plan, and we feel that there is a clear direction for our country," said Youri Mevs, a prominent Haitian entrepreneur who also heads Haiti's Economic Development Foundation. "The Haitian private sector is repairing its capacity in order to further its commitment to the country by creating jobs."

During his address, Prime Minister Bellerive stressed the importance of education to rebuilding his nation for the future. Sandy Gonzalez-Levy, Senior Vice President of External Relations for Florida International University urged U.S. universities to get involved. "Haiti needs teachers and professors to be able to educate new generations. U.S. universities should get involved in rebuilding the future of Haiti."

The administration of President Rene Preval was making significant strides towards integrating Haiti into regional and global economies before the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Bellerive asserts that losing 200,000 men, women and children in the earthquake only strengthened national resolve to build back better. "Our efforts are now dedicated to the memory of those who died during this monumental tragedy. Haitians felt new hope for our nation before the earthquake, and we refuse to let go of that hope," he said, adding that to succeed Haiti needs help from its friends.

More than 400 business people attended the chamber luncheon, presented in cooperation with the Haitian Development Foundation.

Source: I Believe in Haiti