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World Bank Group to Help Improve Haiti’s Industrial Zones, Encourage Private Investment


In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gomez
Phone: (202) 458 5204
E-mail:
agomez@ifc.org

In Lima:

Ada Calderon

Phone: 51 1 611 2521

E-mail:
ACalderon2@ifc.org


Port au Prince, Haiti, September 30, 2009—The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group launched a project with Haiti’s government and private sector to improve the framework for special economic zones and to attract new investment.

The project will be funded with $1.26 million from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the government of the Wallonia Region of Belgium with implementation taking place over the next two years. It is expected to generate $30 million in investments and 9,500 new jobs in the four years following implementation.


To fully leverage its potential and the trade benefits of the U.S. HOPE II legislation, which extends tariff preferences on certain manufactured products, Haiti needs to attract foreign investors and expand industrial space. The new project will help develop additional industrial space and expand factory capacity by sharing best practices on multi-shifts. It also will revamp the regulation of Haiti’s industrial parks and free zones into a comprehensive special economic zones framework, and help develop the necessary tools to attract foreign investors and retain existing ones.


“The need for jobs and investment in Haiti is critical. With this project, the World Bank Group comes along side the Haitian Government and private sector with tangible support to our efforts to boost investment and employment," said Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis, Prime Minister of Haiti. "The opportunities provided by HOPE are time bound, and, in the midst of a global financial crisis, we have to show our capacity to transform investor interest into concrete enterprises. Haiti also urgently needs additional industrial areas to host all interested companies,” she said.


Haiti is sparking fresh investor interest due to increased stability and its expanded access to the United States market. The last year alone saw nine new investment projects in the apparel sector. The country now has 25 garment factories that export primarily to the United States and employ more than 24,000 workers, mostly women.


Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “Supporting the development of industrial zones will help build an important platform for new investment in Haiti, where IFC is already investing in infrastructure, manufacturing, and the financial sector.”


Pierre Guislain, Director of the World Bank Group Investment Climate Advisory Services, said, “This project will help create positive results that are critical to Haiti’s growth. It will also strengthen a practical partnership between a committed partner and the World Bank Group.”


This project is consistent with IFC’s work with the Government of Haiti and other key stakeholders promoting sustainable private sector participation to foster social and economic growth.  In 2003, IFC provided financing to Grupo M of the Dominican Republic for the establishment of the CODEVI zone in northern Haiti.  Today, CODEVI employs around 3,500 Haitian workers.  In March 2009, IFC completed a direct advisory engagement with two Haitian garment companies to assist in improving operational efficiencies. Finally, at the request of the Government IFC has been providing support on issues related to improving business regulations, following the Doing Business report key indicators.


About the Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group

The Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group helps governments implement reforms to improve their business environment, and encourage and retain investment, thus fostering competitive markets, growth and job creation. Funding is provided by the World Bank Group (IFC, MIGA, and the World Bank) and over fifteen donor partners working through the multidonor FIAS platform.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping play a prominent role in addressing the financial crisis. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

IFC in Haiti

IFC’s strategy in Haiti focuses on promoting economic growth and improving access to basic services, particularly for the most vulnerable groups. IFC has ramped up its activities in this country in the past two years and has opened a local office to promote rapid growth for its investment and advisory program. IFC’s advisory operations include training to improve managerial skills of local SMEs, and improving regulations to enhance investment climate.  IFC’s investment activities include financing for Digicel Haiti, equity investments in Sogebank and Micro Credit National, a trade-finance line to Capital Bank, and financing for Grupo M’s CODEVI textiles park.