Bridgetown, BARBADOS - The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) recently held a series of high level meetings with Ministry officials and key Stakeholders in Haiti. These meetings were not only to strengthen the relationship with Haiti but also to set the agenda for the Agency’s commitment to supporting Haiti’s buoyant private sector to achieve greater competitiveness and integration into the regional and international markets.
In a meeting with the Minister of Trade and Industry of Haiti, Mr. Wilson Laleau, Executive Director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton stressed the importance of the Haiti’s private sector as she believes that “Haiti has a role to play in integrating the Caribbean in to the world economy and there is a need to drive production and the export capacity”.
In agreement Minister Laleau stated that Haiti had put itself in the legal framework that is conducive for economic development, however sectorial policies remained a challenge. In addition to meeting with the Ministry the delegation of Caribbean Export also met with National Authorising Officer of the European Development Fund Mr. Jean-Edner Nelson who also expressed his gratitude for the initiative Caribbean Export had taken to drive forward the amalgamation of Haitian people in to the Caribbean.
The meetings within Haiti were part of a road show that the Agency is currently embarking on to raise awareness regarding the grants that have been awarded to firms across the region under the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme. In Haiti, eleven firms have been awarded grants with a total value of some €242,000 or $324,000 USD over the 9th and 10th EDF with five of those being awarded in the most recent Call for Proposals. The companies were Caribbean Craft; Délicious Fruits, SA; Gade, SA; Kenscoff Manufacturing, SA and Produits des Iles (PISA), SA. These firms represent the agro-processing, manufacturing and creative industries.
With an overall increase of 200% of grant funding awarded to Haitian firms between the 9thand 10th EDF, results are encouraging. However given the location and size of Haiti the opportunity for growth is immense and the country has the potential and is poised to become the exporting centre of the region. Caribbean Export will be hosting their annual Caribbean Exporters Colloquium during Caribbean Export Week and it is hoped that there will be significant involvement from Haiti in the activities.
Caribbean Export opened an office in Haiti in 2012 to facilitate the Bi-National programme between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Now with a full complement of staff it is anticipated that the team will not only develop stronger trade relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic but also with the rest of CARICOM.