Haiti presents a huge opportunity for countries like Qatar to invest in its key sectors such as agribusiness, tourism, business process outsourcing, and apparel (currently more than 90% of Haiti’s exports with greater growth potential), according to Francois Guillaume II, chief of mission and charge d’affaires of the embassy of Haiti in Doha.
The envoy told reporters yesterday that the Haiti mission in Doha, established in August 2019, aims to strengthen its ties with Qatar, focusing on trade and investments, cultural exchanges and sports diplomacy.
“But beyond that, we believe that Qatar and Haiti bilateral relations can bring mutually beneficial initiatives in several other areas. Other sectors with great growth potential include infrastructure, manufacturing, real estate and construction,” he said.
While Haiti’s last 30 years history has been marked by long strides of political instability and natural disasters, creating a prevalent situation of under-development, Guillaume said investors can now take advantage of his country’s investment-friendly climate.
He noted that Haiti offers exceptional incentives for investors: 15 years of tax exemption, funding from various local banks and other financial institutions, and high-quality opportunities in industrial parks and free zones.
Investors, he pointed out, will also have preferential trade access to 17 developed country markets, unparalleled duty-free access to the US market for the apparel sector, and competitive and committed workforce of 4.3mn with 55% under the age of 30 – including a large pool of English, French and Spanish speakers.
About further enhancing bilateral relations, Guillaume said Qatar and Haiti can also collaborate in other areas such as in the health sector, diabetes management protocols, environment sector such as the Global Dryland Alliance initiatives.
“One of the areas that Haiti has not only been successful in but has also been a model to other nations is its research and treatment of infectious diseases,” said the envoy, citing Gheskio, a world-class research, treatment and training facility in Haiti.
“Its status as an international research centre of excellence stems from its characteristic as a model of the US and international collaboration for over 30 years,” he noted.
He added that the Gheskio Clinical Trial Unit has conducted seven adult therapeutic, nine HIV vaccine and four maternal-child-adolescent trials with 3,400 participants enrolled and retention rates of 98%.
“I should add that our bilateral relations are well rooted in very cordial and co-operative past initiatives most notably characterised by Qatar’s support to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake through the Qatar Haiti Fund (QHF),” Guillaume said. “QHF funded different humanitarian programmes primarily in education, health and shelter and was very helpful in Haiti’s overall reconstruction efforts after the earthquake.”
He also lauded Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup describing it as impressive, having the chance to meet the Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Hassan al-Thawadi.
“I really expect WC 2022 to be one of a kind experience for fans, teams and FIFA altogether. It is a great opportunity not only for Qatar but for the entire region to showcase its rich culture and hospitality while contributing to the break down certain cultural misconceptions. This will truly be a special World Cup,” Guillaume stressed.