Interview with the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse
In the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea lays Haiti, a fascinating yet under explored country. Sadly, notorious for the
numerous natural disasters and subsequent humanitarian crisis that have reduced a large segment of the population to a state of misery, Haiti has shown great resiliency and is progressively moving forward, aspiring to become an emerging country in the upcoming years.
This positive trend is notably linked to a GDP growth forecast of 2,5% for the year 2018 and to the wind of change brought by the recently elected president Jovenel Moïse. The 49 years old former entrepreneur elected in February 2017 has already proved to be very engaged and responsive in finding solutions to rebuild the country, redress the economic situation and provide hope and motivation for the Haitian youth. His focus on agriculture as the starting point for the economic revitalisation of Haiti is key for creating jobs and wealth in a nation where more than half
“The state shall serve the people and increase its investment in infrastructures”
“Haiti is on the right track towards finding a good balance between production
of the population is rural. Education for all, access to health care, energy reform, rule of law, fight against corruption, environmental protection and the development of Haiti as a touristic destination are among the priorities of the progressive president to bring about the economic and structural transformation eagerly awaited by Haitian people.
One of the growth strategies of Mr. Moïse has been to make a drastic cut in state expenses in order to invest in the Caravan of change, project launched in May 2017. “The state shall serve the people and increase its investment in infrastructures” highlighted the president. The construction of roads, the agricultural infrastructures as well as the provision of land and incentives to Haitian farmers implemented through the different development programmes must continue. Although Haiti missed the industrial revolution and agricultural modernisation, the president talked about new opportunities: “We have never used fertilisers in our lands, which means that our soil, water and plants have the EU organic certification”.
According to the young president, “Haiti is on the right track towards finding a good balance between production and importation”. After acknowledging the complexity of such task, Mr. Moïse voiced his satisfaction around the gradual expansion of import substitution industries. Thanks to the creation of big factories, the Caribbean country “has taken a great leap forward in the past five years with regards to the food industry” stated the president while explaining that Haiti is now self-sufficient in cereals, wheat, flour or carbonated beverage.
However, there is still a long way to go to improve the trade balance in a country that still imports four times more than it exports. “The primary objective now is to switch from a survival cycle to a prosperity cycle and this will only happen when everyone will understand and share this new vision”.
-continued the president.
Mr. Moïse stressed the importance of improving the image of Haiti as an attractive investment destination in the eyes of the international community. “We cannot talk about development without private investments”- he explained before adding: “We are no longer in a humanitarian situation, fortunately our aim moved from seeking help and assistantship to seeking for partners”.
“We need to give hope to the future generations and provide incentives to make them stay here.”
“The primary objective now is to switch from a survival cycle to a prosperity cycle and understand and share this new vision.”
The country needs capital to provide affordable electricity for Haitian people. We built more than 10.000 classrooms to ensure that all children attend school and improve access to health services and this will only be possible through the cooperation of international partners.
The country holds competitive advantages for foreign investors interested in the Caribbean region. Its strategic geographic position on the Windward passage, gate-way for an important part of the global trade, could make Haiti the busiest transit point for transhipment in the region. In addition to that, its proximity with the world’s biggest economy constitutes a great advantage to grow economically. “Our country is located one hour and a half flight from Miami and we need to take advantage of that” -said the young leader. “We must become a more important partner to the United States, in particular through the trade of organic fruits and vegetables”.
Moreover, as mentioned by the president, 70 people out of 100 are not yet 30 years old. The workforce in Haiti is therefore very young and as highlighted by Mr. Moïse: “ A young population is a dynamic one”. In terms of energy, Haiti is the windiest country in the region and is sunny every day of the year, representing a huge opportunity for an affordable production of wind generators and solar energy. In addition, the president praised the Haitian incentive system for new investments, arguing that many opportunities for innovative projects could emerge.
The under explored and gorgeous Pearl of the Antilles is currently examining measures to put in place in order to promote tourism. “Haiti could become a major tourist destination and we are aware that change of image is a must“ -states the chief of state, “there are plenty of touristic zones to be explored and we are working very hard to make them more accessible”. He further stressed that through the infrastructural development, the road system will be improved, cable cars will be built to connect major touristic attractions, a modern ferry landing will be constructed and museums will be created. “Haiti has a huge potential but we need more infrastructures to attract tourism,” -justified the political leader.
Hope is Mr. Moïse’s watchword. “There has not been creation of hope for these last 25 years. We need to give hope to the future generations and provide incentives to make them stay here” -explains the president when asked about the massive outflow of young Haitians to the United States. There also needs to be a creation of incentives geared towards the return of the diaspora to make them invest and develop the country.
“Haiti is open for business, Haiti is now ready”– insisted the president. His vision for Haiti in a very near futureemerging is that of a country where the level of insecurity is at its lowest and where it feels good to live and prosper. Much remains to be done so that the population can aspire to a better-quality of life, but in any case, the economic and political milestones are in place; all that remains to happen is the eagerly hoped change of vision and higher rates of foreign investments.