Much of the media coverage of Haiti's post-earthquake rehabilitation has focused on the role played by the international community and aid donors. But on the second anniversary of the earthquake, the island's narrative may be slowly shifting from one of aid dependency to one of proactive self-help. The government is embarking on a multipronged initiative to combat cholera, permanently rehouse the displaced people, improve infrastructure, and stimulate the economy through a drive on job creation.
Haiti's new prime minister, Garry Conille, said the government's main focus will be to join with private sector partners to address key economic and infrastructure needs to kickstart the economy. "We clearly understand that aid alone will not develop this country [so] we're creating a lot of incentives for the private sector to come in and invest," he said.
The government aims to attract foreign direct investment through Haiti's forum on private sector investment, and entice corporate interest in the country with initiatives such as a 15-year tax holiday and generous subsidies for foreign businesses. It is also working with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and USAid to develop Haiti's manufacturing industry - a venture that Conille believes has the potential to create thousands of jobs over the next 12 months.
Work has already begun on a 246-hectare industrial park by the South Korean apparel manufacturer Sae-A, which is keen to capitalise on Haiti's guaranteed duty-free access to US clothing markets. The $78m development in Haiti's North Corridor will provide 20,000 jobs and directly support the livelihoods of up to 120,000 people. As well as providing myriad opportunities for local entrepreneurship, the industrial park will also include a residential development with 5,000 homes.