The Dominican Republic has joined forces with Haiti in a partnership to attract more foreign investment to the two nations that share the island of Hispanola. The decision came during a workshop organized by the Caribbean Export Development Agency in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo.
This is good news for Haiti, which is still struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake that hit in 2010, because the Dominican Republic was the Caribbean’s biggest recipient of foreign direct investment in 2014. According to the ECLAC, the DR received US$2.2 billion in FDI in 2014, up 11% from the previous year.
By contrast, Haiti’s economy is in tatters due to high inflation and rising unemployment. Its vulnerability to natural disasters, as well as poverty and limited access to education, also put Haiti at a serious disadvantage in terms of growing its economy.
Haiti is suffering from a severe trade deficit, even though the country accounts for the production of more than half of the world’s vetiver oil, an essential oil used in high-end perfumes. A former French colony, Haiti also exports bananas, cocoa, and mangoes, but according to The New York Times, the nation’s annual exports are about a third of neighboring Jamaica and less than half of its African cousins Mali and Senegal.
Florence Van Houtte, representative of the Delegation of the European Union in the Dominican Republic, has hailed the DR’s collaboration with Haiti, saying, “it is a concrete step in the right direction, to achieve both countries’ mutual objectives of enhancing their capacity and improving their cooperation in the field of trade and investment promotion.”
The EU representative additionally underscored the importance of supporting economic cooperation between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, focusing on harmonizing their economic relations and strengthening their socioeconomic development at regional and international levels.
Haiti stated in a press release that other members of Caribbean Export had also expressed interest in fostering investment climate. Representatives of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic said they would put in place best practices in investment promotion and make use of case studies on improving foreign investment.