American Airlines will become the first major carrier to offer daily, direct flights to Cap Haitian. The combination of historic sites and beaches might prove a draw for both the Haitian Diaspora and those interested in visiting Haiti without having to transfer through Port-au-Prince. Growing the tourism industry in Haiti will take time - but having the option of flighting in through the north certainly helps.
Haiti requires foreign assistance for many years to come. However, trade is more important than aid over the long term. Digicel and others have shown that, while a difficult place to do business, investment can be both beneficial to Haiti and profitable to investors. A two day event to court new investors, financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, was recently concluded. Announcements included planned improvements to route national one, an industrial park in the north, and a large, new hotel in Port au Prince. A Miami Herald article by Jacqueline Charles on the forum follows.
The RAND Corportation has produced a report that convincingly argues building the Haitian state should be central to reconstruction efforts. This includes the development of skilled, trained, and properly organized government personnel and management systems within and across Ministries. The report suggests that, at least through the medium term, the Haitian government should contract out health and education services, monitoring and regulating but providing no direct services itself. It also notes the importance of developing the capacity and accountability of the Haitian National Police. A summary is copied below and the full report is attached.
According to the Post Conflict Project Blog, the MINUSTAH Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) program has been approved for a sixth year with a budget of USD 3 million. The intent is to set in place small, high impact projects throughout the country that will improve confidence in MINUSTAH and its mission. Priorities include infastructure rehabilitation, education, health, and agriculture. Please feel feel to reach out to MINUSTAH if you know of organizations that would be strong candidates. Guidance and contact information is both attached and copied below.
Below is a CNN-Money article on a company which has received exclusive rights for household electricity monitors in Haiti. It made me remember when I visited the local electricity bureau (EDH) in Hinche. The officials said they would set up my house for electricity but never came. Because of the wait, a friend insisted on getting a ladder, cutting open the line, and splicing a wire to my house. It worked. The EDH officials say people are stealing electricity. The consumer says EDH is slow and unresponsive. Both are right. Perhaps these new devices can help make both parties happy? Time will tell.
Haiti's roads are awful. When I was a volunteer, a peacekeeper told me that the only worse roads he had ever seen were in Nepal. The lack of infrastucture has affected people's ability to do business, seek health care, visit relatives, and to travel in general. But there is good news - For the first time in a long while progress is being made on Haiti's road system.