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Haiti - Economy : Contributions of the IDB to the business sector
In the past two decades the region has improved human development indicators significantly but its competitiveness and integration into the world economy remain a challenge. The recent global financial crisis and slow economic growth in North America and Europe have exacerbated the region’s needs to diversify its economy and its export base.
Last year, the IDB teamed up with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID) to support Compete Caribbean, a program to foster private sector development and improve competitiveness in 15 Caribbean countries. The five-year program provides technical assistance and investment funding to implement productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and SME development activities within a comprehensive private sector development framework in Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The program integrates international best practices for private sector development and prioritizes projects that have a potential for positive impact on poverty reduction, gender equality and environmental sustainability. Compete Caribbean, currently has 28 operations under development, and is expected to contribute to economic diversification, an increase in non-traditional exports, and the creation of approximately 8000 new jobs in the region.
To increase the effectiveness of productive development policies in the Caribbean, the IDB and the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development (DFID supported the establishment of the Caribbean Competitiveness Center (CCC) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) which will be launched on March 25, 2011.
In Haiti, the Bank is working with the government to improve the business climate and enhance the profitability and productivity of SMEs. he support includes reforming the business registry system, reducing the cost, increasing efficiency and making it less complicated for entrepreneurs to establish a business. The project will eliminate unnecessary red tape, incorporating cloud computing technology and streamlining document management systems. Additionally, the reforms will streamline the process required to obtain construction permits, thereby shortening the time from approximately 1,100 days to 60 days.
The Bank is also preparing a $35 million project in partnership with other donorsto provide grants and performance-based rewards to SMEs. The project will finance Business Development Services and facilitate access to investment credit, and support SMEs as they transit through different stages of entrepreneurial development.