Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Caracol Industrial Park
Job creation is one of the biggest challenges facing Haiti, with an estimated 40 percent of the population unemployed. From a peak employment in the garment sector of 100,000 in the early 1980s, employment in this sector has declined due to embargoes, insecurity, and lack of investment. 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 have made Haiti a more attractive place to invest, with 8,000 new apparel sector jobs created since 2008.
In its 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 initially create 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 fully developed. In 2012, the park began operations as well as manufacturing activities.
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, has assisted with security for the park’s perimeter, and is supporting 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 recently supported a communications campaign in an effort 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 which is now supplying electricity to the industrial park and surrounding communities. In June 2012, construction was completed for the first phase of the plant. The facility currently has a 10 megawatt installed capacity; however, power generation can be expanded to at least 25 megawatts to meet projected industrial and residential needs.
- Housing: USAID is also supporting the development of new housing communities in proximity to the Caracol Industrial Park. The target beneficiaries for the houses are families affected by the earthquake and families deemed eligible by a beneficiary selection committee that is managed by the Government of Haiti and comprised of diverse local stakeholders.