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Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Economic Security


Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
July 19, 2013

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The Challenge

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.

U.S. Government Strategy

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:

  • Helping the Government of Haiti to attract foreign direct investment;
  • Supporting value chains related to foreign direct investment and U.S. Government investments, such as energy, agriculture, garments, and housing;
  • Working with local financial institutions and developing Public Private Partnerships to increase access to finance; and
  • Supporting efforts to increase tax and customs revenue generation.

Since 2008, U.S. trade preferences for Haiti have contributed to the creation of 8,000 apparel sector jobs.

Accomplishments

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:

  • Provided support valued at more than $12 million to more than 30 microfinance institutions to increase lending to underserved populations and MSMEs in several sectors.
  • Contributed to more than 15,000 agricultural loans for farmers to improve crop production and allow agricultural cooperatives to access markets directly. Crops include mango, cocoa, plantain, corn, rice, and beans.
  • Supported an innovative business plan competition – USAID’s Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) – that provides matching grants of up to $200,000 to promising entrepreneurial SMEs investing their own scarce capital to expand their businesses. The second phase of LEAD was recently launched with informational seminars on the competition process that include outreach to Haitian Diaspora seeking to invest in Haiti.
  • Finalized four new Development Credit Authority (DCA) guarantees that will stimulate up to $30 million in loans by local commercial banks, microfinance institutions, and credit unions. The guarantees cover a nine-year period and will contribute to rebuilding Haiti’s private sector through increased local lending to MSMEs and out-of-reach populations.

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.



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