Haiti's Interior Minister Calls for Sustainability at Clinton Global Initiative Forum
- Friday, December 16, 2011 6:28 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - In the third government forum in as many weeks, the Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, stressed decentralization and continued direct foreign investment as keys to sustainable development in Haiti.
In his speech delivered at the Clinton Global Initiative - Haiti Action Network Forum, the Minister of the Interior, Local Authorities and National Defense, continued to send the message that Haiti is "open for business" emphasizing that opportunities were available in throughout the country, beyond Port-au-Prince.
Mayard-Paul highlighted the government's partnerships with non-governmental organizations such as Fonkoze, Partners in Health and BRAC, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, as signs that the vision of decentralization of President Michel Martelly is being realized.
In summary, the minister described the vision of the administration by what he learned from visiting areas in the far edges of the country, such as, Anse dâ€™Hainault, Port Salut, Les Caves, Jeremie, the Grande Anse, the South and the Southeast; "the Haitian people do not want hand-outs, they want a hand-up. They want jobs that will help restore their dignity."
The minister promised that steps would be taken in terms of policy to facilitate more investments and growth in the private sector in the communes of the country.
Below is the translated speech of the minister, English:
"Welcome to the final meeting of CGIâ€™s Haiti Action Network. On behalf of the Government of Haiti, I want to thank all of you for your commitment and hard work -- your time and dedication â€“ to transforming the needs of the Haitian people into solutions and action. The Haiti Action Network is a unique, and quite frankly, a remarkable initiative."
"Thank you President Clinton and Dr. Paul Farmer for your vision in creating this Network. Thank you Denis Oâ€™Brien for your tireless devotion to leading this Network into Action. And thanks to all of you at CGI and the Clinton Foundation for transforming ideas into reality â€“ day in and day out."
"When I look around this room and think about your collective commitment to the people of Haiti, - - - I am deeply moved and profoundly humbled. I am also INSPIREDâ€¦ Inspired by your vision, your tenacity, and your dedication to a new future for Haiti."
"You see, I believe that we are all here because we share a deep commitment to changing the course of Haitiâ€™s future, and each of us here has a role to play in this change. Each of you, in your own way, can and will affect lasting change for the people of Haiti by contributing to our sustainable future â€“ a future that every Haitian man, woman and child deserves."
"As we approach the two-year anniversary of the earthquake---and I understand many of you have been working in Haiti since long before that time----- we are all charting a new course for sustainable economic development, focusing our efforts on investment and job creation, particularly in Haitiâ€™s heartland."
"As you may know, we co-hosted an Investors Conference in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Clinton Foundation two weeks ago. We had hoped that 500 investors would attend the event, but I was extremely pleased --and humbled-- to learn that final registration was almost 1,100!"
"There were nearly 500 foreign investors from 29 different countries. Many were CEOs and Executive Directors of major international businesses in different industries ranging from IT to agribusiness and energy, manufacturing to tourism and apparelâ€¦ but all with a common goal: a heartfelt interest in establishing or expanding their businesses in Haiti, making real investments."
"Several concrete commitments were announced during the conference, including a new 168-room hotel in Turgeau, valued at $45 million - a joint investment by Marriott Hotels and our good friends at the Digicel Group. Thank you Denis, for your continued and unwavering commitment to Haitiâ€™s development!"
"As encouraging as it was to see such heightened interest and enthusiasm for investing in Haiti, we have to recognize that this is a first step. As we all know, it takes more than a good idea to develop a successful business; it takes hard work and commitment."
"So now itâ€™s Haitiâ€™s turn to deliver on our promise to make Haiti a great place to do business and a favorable place to invest."
"President Martelly, his Administration and I are fully committed to ensuring that companies and organizations like the ones you represent here can experience success. We want to create an environment where Haitian entrepreneurs can establish new businesses quickly and efficiently, and an environment where international companies feel confident that their investments will be profitable and secure."
"To that end, Haiti is adjusting the present legal framework, including democratic governance, rule of law, tax incentives, land reform and other measures to ensure that investors have the most favorable conditions possible to realize the highestâ€¦ most positive results for both themselves and for the good of people of Haiti."
"President Martellyâ€™s new vision of Haiti is to build a socially just, economically free, and politically independent nation that does not end with reconstruction but rather, begins with renovation: the renovation of Haitiâ€™s economic system, which animates the social and political engines of democracy."
"The work of many of you and your organizations will be key drivers in helping us achieve this vision! Thank you for your continued support!!! We are fortunate to have many great examples of initiatives that you all are implementing, and that are helping to drive this renovation. For instance, the Hope Academy Internship Program that has already put 68 young Haitians through internships."
"This represents almost 45% of the three year commitment for Haiti in just the first year! Kudos! Or the innovative and cost-effective approach to measurably reduce extreme poverty and improve health outcomes in Central Haiti, which has been implemented by our friends at Fonkoze, in partnership with BRAC and Partners in Health. The great news? It has reduced mortality from malnutrition, and increased access to high-quality training and educational opportunities for rural youth."
"These are all examples of social initiatives that help with job creation and sustainability, and that support President Martellyâ€™s decentralization vision."
"You see, it is critical that contributions be directed to support for priority projects, such as building and modernizing Haitiâ€™s infrastructure and energy grid, or initiatives that help generate jobs or get our people ready for employment. The industrial park in the North East, which will provide 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, is also an excellent example of foreign aid that advances Haitiâ€™s priority goals for sustainable job creation and development---- bringing long term benefits to all parties."
"You will see in the afternoon session, a myriad of opportunities that will help build an eco-system that will not only promote and encourage this vision, but will also help implement it."
"You see, the key to driving sustainable development in Haiti is to MAP IT throughout our entire nationâ€¦â€¦ and then DRIVE IT through local initiatives and decentralized cooperation."
"At the Ministry of the Interior, we are charged with carrying out President Martellyâ€™s vision to drive sustainable development through local initiatives and decentralized cooperation. As such, I have been visiting several municipalities -- and will continue to do so-- to listen to our peopleâ€™s needs and concerns. So far, having visited Anse dâ€™Hainault, Port Salut, Les Caves, Jeremie-----the Grande Anse, the South; the Southeast, one thing is clearâ€¦ the Haitian people do not want hand-outs, they want a hand-up. They want jobs that will help restore their dignity."
"And thatâ€™s precisely one of the main objectives of this event, to showcase the untapped opportunities with the goal of attracting investments and contributions that will accelerate decentralization and generate jobs."
"Within this context, the specific objective of my office is to promote the rural economy by improving production, the opportunities for employment and the quality of life of communities across the country."
"Those of you already vested in Haiti will agree with me when I say, there has never been a better time to get involved in our many territories. There are co-ops and businesses that are ready to scale up their work, and become players in the global economy. The current Haitian government is committed to facilitating investment, and we have a population that is ready to work hard. Everything is in place!"
"For those ready to reap the rewards, there are myriad opportunities, beginning with Social infrastructure projects. These are projects that work to improve the social and organization conditions of low-income rural communities, such as health, sanitation, rural education, community organization, training, etc."
"One example is SOIL's emergency sanitation services in IDP camps and public sanitation facilities that have benefited more than 14,500 people. The organization is now piloting a household ecological sanitation project and has installed household toilets in 100 homes in Cite Soleil. Thank you!"
"Another example is the signing of an ambitious health and sanitary program valued at US $700,000, which will benefit 80,000 families in Haitiâ€™s Southwestern Grandâ€™Anse region. This project was made possible by an innovative inter-municipal cooperation agreement signed by the President of the Association of Mayors from Grandâ€™Anse (AMAGA), Saint-Antoine Hospital of JÃ©rÃ©mie, Franceâ€™s Nantes-Metropole Community, and Nantes University Hospital."
"These are the types of inter-municipal public-private cooperation that the Ministry of the Interior tries to foster so we can help implement President Martellyâ€™s vision to drive sustainable development through local initiatives and decentralized cooperation. "
"You are all welcome to participate with us in a decentralization strategy that is aligned with the real needs of the people and that open the door to innovation in blending public funding with private investment."
"Another great example is the partnership between Nestle and the Colombian National Coffee Federation, who have agreed to transfer agricultural, reforestation and cooperative organization best practices to Haitian coffee growers. What an incredible initiative!!!"
"If any of your want to participate in transforming Haitiâ€™s rural communities from subsistence economies to sustaining economies, you will be engaged not only in enterprise, but in improving the social conditions for thousands of hard working Haitians. I am sure you will agree, better social conditions in our rural communities are both a basic social right and a prerequisite for achieving economic-productive development. Any help you provide here will cascade multiple benefits to everyone involved/all parties."
"In doing so, we are guided by the principles of Democratic Governance. One that is shaped not just by what we do in Port au Prince, especially at the executive and legislative branches. In our view, Democratic Governance is given real force when local institutions and civil society become involved in solving the challenges that they face every day. Our focus on strengthening local institutions and on guaranteeing the participation of civil society is an important step toward welcoming investment around Haiti."
In this sense, a strong civil society participating in the design and implementation of public policies through representative institutions is an essential condition for the effective functioning of democracy and for achieving sustainable and equitable development. "
"Thatâ€™s why we are strongly encouraging the adoption of measures aimed at better use of factors of production, including improving land, labor and financial markets, and establishing mechanisms for retaining and reinvesting local surpluses."
"Since we want to make sure that every good idea and promising concept is followed through, we are working together with the IDB and the Clinton Foundation to track potential investments. The Government of Haiti, and my Office in particular, is committed to doing everything we can to facilitate your contribution to the future, and to the people of Haiti."
"Thank you all again for attending. The Haitian government appreciates all you have done for our country and what you will continue to do. I am deeply moved when I think of the possibilities that your participation in this conference holds for the Haitian people: the possibility of building a nation where justice reigns and opportunity abounds."
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