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With an estimated 40 percent of the population unemployed, job creation is key to poverty reduction in Haiti. From a peak in the early 1980s when the garment sector employed 100,000 people, employment in this sector had dropped dramatically due to embargoes, insecurity, and lack of investment. Today, Haiti’s garment sector is reemerging as a source of employment thanks in part to U.S. trade preferences enacted through the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act (HOPE), HOPE II, and Haiti Economic Lift Program Act of 2010 (HELP) legislation which have made Haiti a more attractive place to invest, with 10,000 new apparel sector jobs created since 2008.
In its 2010 National Action Plan, the Government of Haiti expressed its desire to create centers of economic development outside of Port-au-Prince to spur economic growth and bring jobs to Haiti’s underserved regions. The Caracol Industrial Park is a step toward achieving this goal, bringing together the Haitian and U.S. Governments, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Sae-A Trading Co., Ltd.―Korea’s leading garment manufacturer. This major public private partnership is expected to bring permanent jobs to Haiti. The park is projected to create up to 20,000 permanent jobs through Sae-A’s investment alone. Ultimately, the industrial park has the potential to create up to 65,000 direct jobs once it is operating at full capacity. The park began operations and manufacturing activities in 2012. To date, the park and its several corporate tenants have generated approximately 2,000 permanent new jobs. Manufacturers signed up for the park include construction, paint, and fragrance producers.
The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is supporting the park in several ways.
- Transition Initiatives: In preparation for the projected rapid industrialization and urbanization that will accompany the park, USAID financed visible infrastructure improvements in neighboring communities, assisted with security for the park’s perimeter, and supported skills training for industrial sewing in the North. Interventions benefitting nearby communities include installation of solar lights on the national highway and rehabilitation of clinics, community centers, libraries, and sports fields.
- Communication Campaigns: USAID supported a communications campaign to ensure that local communities around the park understand how they will benefit from the park and related investments.
- Energy: USAID funded the construction of a power plant that is now supplying electricity to the industrial park and surrounding communities. The facility currently has a 10 megawatt capacity and can be expanded to at least 25 megawatts to meet projected electricity needs for the tenants in the industrial park as well as houses and businesses around the park. In May 2013, USAID awarded a three-year contract for the operation and maintenance of the power utility to ensure reliable service.
- Housing: USAID is supporting the development of new housing communities in proximity to the Caracol Industrial Park. A total of 750 houses have already been constructed, with other sites currently in development. The families moving into the houses were selected by a beneficiary selection committee that is managed by the Government of Haiti.
Last updated: February 10, 2014