Economic security is predicated on people having secure livelihoods. Even before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti faced significant challenges to economic security. Its economy is primarily driven by informal micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which generate up to 80 percent of new jobs. However, informal MSMEs have difficulties accessing financing from formal institutions, thus limiting their ability to grow. The wide-scale damage caused by the earthquake further exacerbated the situation, disrupting businesses and destroying stores and other infrastructure. Estimates indicate that 40 percent of the Haitian population is unemployed.
The U.S. Government is helping the Haitian government in its goal of creating jobs, with a corresponding increase in household incomes, savings, and other assets―resulting in increased economic security. To achieve this goal, the U.S. Government is:
Since 2008, U.S. trade preferences for Haiti have contributed to the creation of 8,000 apparel sector jobs.
The U.S. Department of Treasury is providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Finance to improve budgeting, tax collection, and debt management in the public sector. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is carrying out the U.S. Government strategy by creating jobs in targeted sectors and increasing access to capital from formal sources to stimulate growth and job opportunities. So far, we have:
The U.S. Government has partnered with Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to bring $20 million of long-term financing and technical assistance to Haiti for housing finance. OPIC intends to double its current portfolio of $76 million. USAID has also partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch the first mobile money service in Haiti. After reaching 5 million transactions as of June 2012, the initiative is now focused on sustainability by facilitating mobile money use by the Government of Haiti and the private sector.