Port-au-Prince, Haiti, May 19, 2010—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, remains committed to supporting Haiti’s
recovery by helping finance private sector projects and providing advisory
services to improve investment conditions and create jobs.
During his first visit to Haiti, Lars
Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, said, “IFC has been a long-term
partner to Haiti, supporting private sector projects with one common objective—to
create jobs for the Haitian people and help improve their quality of life.
The private sector has a key role to play in generating employment, which
will be essential for Haiti’s sustainable, long-term recovery.”
Thunell, who met with President René
Preval and representatives of the Haitian private sector, said, “Along
with international relief efforts, it is essential that local firms have
access to finance to spur employment opportunities and that funding be
available for infrastructure that improves Haitian’s quality of life and
promotes trade. In these challenging times, the private sector and the
government must work together to improve the investment climate, stimulate
economic growth, and give Haitians the tools to lift themselves out of
IFC has invested $65.6 million in Haiti’s
private sector since 2006, helping ensure access to finance for local firms
and develop infrastructure. In the wake of the devastating earthquake,
IFC’s Board quickly approved a $35 million emergency investment program
to help private companies get back to business.
Today, IFC signed the first of these
emergency commitments. IFC and the Soros Economic Development Fund, a non-for-profit
investment fund that works to alleviate poverty, are together providing
$6 million in financing to the apparel company Grupo M. This will expand
the CODEVI free trade zone in Northern Haiti and create 2,000 new jobs
by the end of this year, and 2,000 more by the end of 2011.
IFC aims to help textile firms capitalize
on the HELP Act, which nearly triples duty-free quotas for Haitian clothing
exports to the United States and extends trade preferences through 2020.
Haiti’s clothing sector has a significant development impact, accounting
for 75 percent of export earnings and employing more than 25,000 before
IFC’s focus in Haiti includes strengthening
financial markets, with a focus on access to credit for micro, small and
medium enterprises improving infrastructure, such as ports, roads and energy
plants supporting agribusiness, and increasing telecommunications capabilities.
IFC also is ramping up its advisory
services to improve Haiti’s business climate and take advantage of investor
interest This includes simplifying the regulatory framework for special
economic zones, improving the country’s ports and supporting the Haitian
government’s plans to descentralize zones outside of Port-au-Prince. IFC’s
goal is to help attract new garment companies to invest $30 million in
Haiti, which will support 9,500 new jobs.
Other recent IFC projects include structuring
a public-private partnership for TELECO, which will significantly increase
Haitians’ access to telephone and high-speed Internet services. Viettel,
Vietnam’s largest mobile telephone operator, signed an agreement in April
to invest up to $100 million, Haiti’s largest foreign direct investment
since the earthquake.
In addition, in February IFC invested
$5.2 million in Eurasian Minerals Inc., a Canadian-based mining exploration
company, to support the company’s gold and copper exploration in Haiti.
Eurasian currently provides employment to up to 800 workers in northern
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 capital for private enterprise,
and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments.
Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel
capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.