ATLANTA – Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell advocated for increased investment in the nation of Haiti during a conference hosted by the Consulate General of Haiti between the island nation and the U.S.
More than 100 business leaders attended the Haiti is Open for Business Caravan Conference (HOBCC) on Wednesday at Paschal’s Restaurant at Castleberry Hills in Atlanta. The event was hosted by Jerome Russell President of H.J. Russell & Company and Eddy Benoit, president of the Benoit Group
“Investment in Haiti is not only a great opportunity for the country and the state of Georgia, but the city of Atlanta as well considering our area’s proximity to the country and our growing Haitian immigrant population. Outside of metro Miami, metro Atlanta is probably home to the Southeast’s largest Haitian community,” said Council President Mitchell, who along with other Atlanta business leaders visited Haiti in March to explore economic development/trade possibilities.
Mitchell said the port of Savannah would be an ideal location for importing and exporting goods between the two nations because of its proximity to large population centers in the Southeast.
“In terms of tourism, we are fortunate that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport now offers a direct flight to historic Port-au-Prince, Haiti,” he said.
Business leaders in attendance Wednesday were briefed on business opportunities and investments in sectors such as:
• Tourism (construction of all-inclusive resorts, hotels, and revamping of Haiti’s cultural and historical sites);
• Manufacturing (exporting of goods to USA, UE, Canada, Caribbean Basin duty free);
• Health Services (hospitals and medical clinics);
• Real estate (low and medium income housing);
• Transport (air, sea, rail, and road transport infrastructure, including ports);
• Technology (high-impact information and communication technology);
• Exportation of sea products; and
• Agricultural food-crop cultivation and processing.
Haiti is indeed open for business with its economic recovery on the upswing. According to the recently released World Economic Outlook from the International Monetary Fund, Haiti’s Economy is anticipated to grow a whopping 7.8 percent, which will lead Caribbean nations in 2012. This also demonstrates a slight improvement from last year in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking. The country eased the process for starting a business by eliminating the required business plan review by the Prime Minister’s office as previously required under the Incorporation Act.
Among other officials in attendance at Wednesday’s conference were Andy Rene of the Presidential Advisory Council on Economic Development and Investment (CCPDEI); Mr. Hervé Denis, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haiti (CCIH); Mr. Henri-Claude Müller-Poitvien, President of the Tripartite Commission for the Implementation of the Hope Act (CTMO-HOPE); a representative of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and several other local leaders.
Jorge Fernandez, Vice President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce moderated the conference.
Photo courtesy of Horace Henry