June 10, 2010 – In support of rebuilding Haiti following the devastating earthquake that affected the region this past January, more than 400 companies from the United States, Dominican Republic and Haiti attended the “Building a New Haiti: Commerce, Business, Investment” conference in Montrouis over the last two days.
Rick Wade, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and David Hinson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, met with René Préval, President of the Republic of Haiti to discuss ways in which Haiti can diversify its economy and develop stronger economic relationships with the U.S. as well as create an environment that fosters job creation and economic stability.
Wade reiterated the commitment of President Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary Locke to the people of Haiti and to engage the Haitian Diaspora in these efforts. Hinson discussed how Haitians living in America are extremely supportive of their home country and are eager to help rebuild the nation.
According to Hinson, minority-owned firms stand ready to partner with the Haitian Diaspora and the Haitian government to create a new and greater Haiti.
MBDA, the only federal agency tasked with the growth and global competitiveness of minority owned firms in the United States, is building a portfolio of minority-owned companies with the reconstruction expertise and resources; and is monitoring the reconstruction process as procurement opportunities for U.S. businesses become available through the U.S. Government and international development banks. Last year, MBDA secured more than $3 billion in contracts and financings for minority-owned firms in the United States.
The Government of Haiti has an 18 month action plan estimated at $3.8 billion. This plan targets territorial, economic, social, and institutional rebuilding. The total cost for long-term reconstruction efforts is estimated at $11.5 billion. Contracts for reconstruction projects will be listed on: www.fbo.gov. Search under “Haiti.”
The 2-day conference is co-sponsored by the American Chambers of Commerce in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service office in the Dominican Republic. The conference continues through Friday with discussions titled “Private Sector Vision for a New Haiti: Challenges and Opportunities,” “Financing Private Sector-Led Growth,” and “Strengthening Small and Medium Sized Businesses,” followed by networking and breakout sessions.