Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Caracol Industrial Park
Unemployment in Haiti is a big problem, with an estimated 40 percent of the population unemployed. From a peak employment of 100,000 in the early 1980s, employment in the garment sector has declined due to embargoes, insecurity, and lack of investment. U.S. trade preferences, enacted through the HOPE (2010) and HELP II (2008) legislation, have made Haiti a more attractive place to invest.
In its National Action Plan, the Government of Haiti (GOH) 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 first 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. As the first major public-private partnership to bring permanent jobs to Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake, the park is projected to initially create 20,000 permanent jobs through Sae-A’s investment alone. Ultimately, it has the potential to create up to 65,000 jobs once fully developed. At a ceremony in November 2011, the first stone was laid in the park; and operation and manufacturing activity are projected to begin in 2012.
The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is supporting several key interventions to prepare for and support the park.
- Transition Initiatives: In preparation for the rapid industrialization and urbanization that will accompany the park, USAID is financing visible infrastructure improvements in neighboring communities, assisting with security for the park’s perimeter, and supporting Haitian cooperatives to jumpstart 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 aims to ensure that the inhabitants in the communities around the park understand how the park benefits them by facilitating and encouraging dialogue about the park and related investments between local and national government officials and affected citizens.
- Energy: USAID is funding the construction of a power plant which will supply electricity to the industrial park and surrounding communities. The power plant will have a 10 megawatt installed capacity by the middle of 2012; however, USAID is designing the facility to accommodate expansion as needed to at least 25 megawatts.
- Housing: USAID is also supporting housing in proximity to the Caracol Industrial Park to provide alternative locations for the survivors of the 2010 earthquake and others looking to resettle away from the congestion of Port-au-Prince.
- Ports: USAID is also exploring approaches to improve port facilities in the North in an effort to expand the capacity to expedite the import and export of goods into and out of Haiti.