Establishing Economic Independence in Haiti Through Public-Private Partnerships and Foreign Direct Investment

Armand, Jasmine | May 1, 2020

In 1804, the Caribbean island of Haiti became the first black republic in the world after leading the only successful slave rebellion in history to result in the formation of an independent nation. Overflowing with valuable natural resources and equipped with a strategic Caribbean location, Haiti was positioned to remain one of the most prosperous territories in the world. But the price of independence was steep, and the country failed to thrive under crushing foreign intervention. But its story does not end there. This note examines the opportunities for Haiti to establish economic independence through public-private partnerships and foreign direct investments. First, this note will recount Haiti’s complicated past, from the native Taino Indians, the commencement of African slavery, to the historic slave rebellion and the fight for independence which elicited extreme backlash from the Western world. Next, this note will take an in-depth look at Brazil’s recent anticorruption success and apply those lessons to Haiti. By firmly addressing its own corruption issue, Haiti can create an environment that is welcoming to foreign investors, paving the way for transformative public-private partnerships. This note will then address the characteristics of an effective public-private partnership (P3)—a mechanism by which a government can partner with the private sector to fund and operate key infrastructures and stimulate economic development. Haiti’s lack of essential structure makes it ripe with opportunities for P3s in virtually every industry—water, sanitation, electricity, internet, transportation, education, and more. Developing this infrastructure will not only stabilize daily life for Haiti’s citizens but it can begin to attract foreign investors. As such, this note will explain the role of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in strengthening and expanding Haiti’s economy. In addition to injecting capital into the country, FDIs can also help Haiti develop its human capital by providing jobs and skill training. This note proposes that through the development of essential infrastructure via P3s and the expansion of the economy with FDIs, Haiti can begin to establish economic independence and take its rightful place in the global economy.