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
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.
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.