Proactive president seeks trade


New president of Haiti, Michel Martelly is proving to be both business friendly and pro-active in seeking business partners for his shattered country.

Still recovering from an earthquake in January 2010, the president has clearly decided that trade not aid is the way forward.

On a visit to Venezuela recently President Martelly signed a framework agreement with President Hugo Chavez covering credit, direct investment in agriculture, industrial development, energy and tourism. Venezuela had agreed to open several appliance stores in Haiti, selling discounted electrical goods.

In Panama, President Martelly secured a presidential decree from President Ricardo Martinelli to reduce the cost of visas for Haitians from $1,000 to $50 and also reducing the waiting time from 4 months to 7 days. The Panamanian president also signed a technical assistance agreement covering agriculture, trade, tax collection, promotion of investments and management of ports and airports.

Speaking in the Bahamas, President Martelly said that the country doesn’t need, it needs trade. He stated that only 25% of Haiti has electricity and they were looking for utility companies to take up the opportunity. He pointed out that roads and homes needed building and that 60% of the country are farmers working rich farmland ripe for the export of foods.

President Martelly is also keen to open up the country to tourism. He is seeking to draw cruise lines to North Haiti where there are plans to develop that part of the country as a tourist area.

At home, the Ministry of Commerce is working to reduce the number of days to start a business in Haiti from 105 to 10 days.

Working with the Interamerican Development Bank the country has just published a tender for a wastewater treatment plant for domestic wastewater of the industrial park of Caracol. More details can be found here.

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