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Doing Business in Haiti – Invest in Haiti
Haiti has been a victim of man-made disaster and natural disaster as well, but the
potential for investors is alive and well. In the month of October 2016, hurricane
Matthew devastated the Southern part of Haiti. The devastation left 170,000 people
homeless and about 1,000 people dead. The current interim president of Haiti is
Jocelerme Privert.
The devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti caused significant damage to the nation’s
capital, Port-au-Prince, and resulted in fiscal losses roughly equal to the country’s GDP.
In response, the international community has rushed to Haiti’s support and pledged
approximately US$10 billion for reconstruction projects. As Haiti’s economy steadily
begins to improve, great opportunity exist to provide much needed capital, financial
expertise and strategic support to SMEs in the country.
Haiti is now poised for growth. Haiti has a free-market economy with low-cost labor, a
pro-business government, and capital demands that will continue to increase for the
foreseeable future. The Haitian government, with the help of the international
community, is attempting to create more jobs for its young workforce (the average age
in Haiti is 21.4 years) by making it easier for foreign entities to invest in Haiti.
Furthermore, Haiti is well positioned to prosper in the coming years due in part to its
proximity to the United States (its primary trading partner), the vast support from the
international community, and its motivated and eager low-cost workforce. Haiti’s key
strategic advantages are outlined below.
Pro-business government
o President Michel Martelly is considered pro-business
o Martelly has pledged to create over 500,000 jobs in the next three years
o Haiti’s government has begun to streamline steps to start a business and
loosen curbs on foreign ownership of land
Broad International Support
o Over US$10 billion of foreign assistance has been pledged to help rebuild
the country
o Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) offered over US$2.2 billion alone
for recovery and development projects
o Over 3000 non-government organizations (NGOs) are operating in Haiti
providing much needed support services
o United States HOPE and HELP Acts will help rebuild Haiti’s diminished
garment industry
Strategic Location
Located between the world’s largest economy (USA) and emerging
economies in South America (Brazil and Colombia), Haiti is wellpositioned to benefit from economic growth throughout the region
Situated within the Caribbean provides the country with prime access to
maritime trade
Promising Economic Signals
o Free-market economy
o Projected 7.8% GDP growth in 2012
Economic stimulus from billions in foreign assistance
Increasing trade integration
o Introduction of Special Economic Zones provide exemptions on tariffs and
o Close proximity to large economies ensures lower costs for transporting
goods to international markets
o WTO member since 1996
 Untapped Resource Potential
Copious, untapped mineral deposits of bauxite, copper, gold and calcium
o Young, low-cost labor – median age is 21 years
Advantageous Labor Conditions
It has one of the world’s lowest-cost workforce
Abundance of hard-working, trainable workers
 Geography
World-class pristine beaches and 1,700km (1,100 miles) of coastline
Natural sea ports at Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, and Jacmel
The Role of Private Equity
Financing options for businesses in Haiti are severely limited. High interest rates and
collateral requirements make attaining a loan nearly impossible for many Haitian
businesses. In many instances, private equity provides the only viable financing tool for
many Haitian businesses seeking capital. In addition to much-needed capital, private
equity firms can provide these businesses with governance, oversight, and
management expertise, all while attracting local and regional investment partners. As
Haiti’s only private equity fund, Leopard can easily access some of the country’s best
investment opportunities in a relatively non-competitive environment. Given this
opportunity, Leopard intends to seek out and partner with fundamentally sound Haitian
businesses to build regionally competitive companies.