Haiti no longer receives discounted oil from an increasingly chaotic Venezuela - and all the good (cheaper oil) and bad (blatant corruption) that came with it. Much of Port au Prince is now getting by with only thee hours of electricity a day negatively affecting the economy, political stability, health care, and transportation. Increasing renewable energy may help Haiti in the long run, but in the short term, a more predictable and rational approach to petroleum imports is required. The full article by Associated Press journalist Ralph Thomassaint Joseph follows.
Small Business Development
The next Haiti Tech Summit will take place from June 20-23 at the Decameron Beach Resort at the Cote des Arcadins. Participants will include investors, government officials, and entrepeneurs both in Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora. Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets. The agenda, speakers, sponsors, and partners are listed below. Any questions can be directed to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Internet penetration in Haiti remains low, limiting opportunities to grow Haiti's nascent information technology sector. Despite the challenges, there is strong local interset. For example, over 600 local developers and entrepeneurs signed up for a live streamed Google I/O Extended Conference at Hotel Karaibe to be followed by workshops and trainings conducted in Kreyol. The event is being organised by Google employees of Haitian descent. The full article by Miami Herald journalist Jacqueline Charles follows.
The cessation of Temporary Protected Status, which in reality often lasts many years, would result in the deportation of 200,000 Haitians, Nicaraguans, El Salvador, and Sudanese who together have more than 200,000 children born in the United States. Deportations would separate families and create unneccesary suffering. It would also have negative economic consequences for companies like Butterball Tukey who depend upon an immigrant workforce. This is hard, dirty, and difficult work that would be hard to fill otherwise. Policies can be be sound from both a humanitarian and economic perspective at the same time - deporting hard-working people and separating them from their families when their labor is very much needed would be neither.
At the insistence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Haitian government had agreed to cut government subsidies on fuel which would have caused prices to increase by over half. Life is expensive enough in Haiti due to a lack of economic growth and dependency on imports. To reduce subsidies would have made life even costly when many struggle just to get by. The situation was very tense but has since calmed. Still, the IMF has yet again hurt Haiti by failing to promote policies that are pro-poor. The full article by Time journalist Billy Perrigo follows.
The Haiti Tech Summit will be held from June 2-5 in Port-au-Prince (location to be announced). The Haiti Tech Summit will bring together entrepreneurs, investors, digital marketers and others to address development changes in Haiti that can be addresed through technological innovation. The event is projected to include 100 speakers, 500 companies, and 1,000 attendees. Sign up for updates and more information about program and organizers follows.
When thinking of Haitian exports, mangos, coffee, and rum may come to mind. However, Haiti was once and could be yet again a significant producer of cacao – the raw form of cocoa that is roasted and converted into chocolate. Expanding cacao production would mean livelihoods for farmers in rural Haiti while potentially complementing reforestation efforts. This is, all in all, a sweet deal.
Below is a an article by Forbes writer Jo Piazza about Haitian-American entrepeneur Alexis Gallivan. With the management skills she acquired selling ice cream in Brooklyn, Gallivan decided to replicate her business in Haiti. Being an entrepeneur in Haiti is tough - it ranks 182nd out of 189 countries in the latest Worrd Bank "Ease of Doing Business" Report. To put that into perspective, Afghanistan is 177th. However, the Haitian diaspora is full of individuals with skills, resources, and the potential to create small businesses that provide training and livelihoods. Learn more at the Bel Rev website.
Toilet paper is something that it is not adequately appreciated until one does not have it - and forty percent of Haitians do not. Myrtha Vilbon, with support from USAID, has grown her toilet paper production facility significantly. While Haiti is not yet an easy place to do business, she has done well, with over 100 employees (70 of them women) in her factory. The full article by the Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles follows.
Timberland has made significant investments in reforestation in Haiti, which you can learn about in the documentary "Kombit: The Cooperative". Timberland's persistence and partnerships have resulted in five million trees (many of them fruit-bearing) being planted. According to The Guardian, Timberland is also supporting a feasibility study to determine if Haiti could become a significant producer of organic cotton. Cotton production is not without its challenges and the jury is still out as to whether it is a crop that makes sense for Haiti. The full article follows below.