Former United States president Bill Clinton said he will lead a trade mission to Haiti in October, his second visit since he was appointed United Nations Special Envoy to the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
"We have a unique opportunity to act now to reclaim Haiti's proud past while shaping a better future," Clinton told the Second Annual Congress of the Haitian Diaspora in Miami, while announcing the upcoming trip.
Clinton praised the leadership shown by the Haitian executive branch and parliament, the expanded U.S. duty-free treatment granted for Haitian apparel exports, the recent $1.2 billion in debt relief granted to Haiti by the international community, and "the strong resolve" of the Haitian people. However, Clinton warned, "Every single day a child is hungry; a parent comes home without a job, a mother dies in childbirth, a community is uprooted by a storm, the window of opportunity we have today closes a little more. We have a unique opportunity to act now to reclaim Haiti's proud past while shaping a better future." Clinton first visited Haiti as a U.N. Special Envoy in July to assess how to support governmental efforts to strengthen the country's resistance to hurricanes, generate new jobs, and improve the delivery of basic social services.
At the Miami conference, Clinton cited other important initiatives including the Haiti Invest Project, an equity-investment program launched by the Soros Economic Development Fund with an initial commitment of up to $25 million. Haiti Invest has approached potential partners in an effort to expand its initial capitalization to as much as $150 million, and it is considering investments in apparel manufacturing, agribusiness, logistics, tourism, energy, and housing.
Contact Alan M. Field at email@example.com.