Haiti PM visits Brazil to promote investment

Lamothe’s trip is also part of a broader Haitian government effort to aggressively insert Haiti into hemispheric affairs.

Since taking office in 2011, the Martelly-Lamothe administration has sought to improve relations with southern countries, where Haiti has found not only good friends and allies but also investors, technical assistance, and non-conditioned loans.

Brazil is one of the few countries that have provided continuous support since 2004 to Haiti and whose presence is palpable because of the large presence of Brazilian troops within the UN peacekeeping forces. Private companies have also already invested there. Brazil’s presence has helped promote political stability and rule of law, rebuild the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake and to address urban gang violence in the country.

Estimates from the government of Haiti suggest that Brazil spends about $180 million in Haiti each year.

Lamothe will meet with high ranking government officials, including: senior advisor for international relations to President Dilma Rousseff, Marco Aurelio Garcia; Minister of Defense Celso Amorim; and, the Minister of Foreign Relations Antonio Patriota, among others.

Topics to be discussed include a timeline for the reduction of troops in Haiti, the arrival of thousands of Haitian nationals in Brazilian territory, and, additional assistance to address high crime neighborhoods.

Later in the week, Lamothe will visit with former president Luis Ignacio “Lula” da Silva, who originally committed Brazil’s peacekeeping forces to Haiti.

According to Lamothe, “During our face to face meetings with Brazilian leadership we will be able to personally express our gratitude for their assistance. At the same time we are here to promote the new Haiti, a country that is open for business and which welcomes Brazilian investment in particular.”

The Haitian delegation includes several ministers who are tasked with promoting investment opportunities in their particular sectors.

Stephanie Villedrouin, the minister of tourism, said, “Thousands of Brazilian tourists travel to the Caribbean each year. We are here to tell them that Haiti is a unique destination that Brazilian tourists simply must see.”

Gregory Mevs, the co-chair of Haiti’s presidential commission on investment, noted that Lamothe will also travel to Sao Paolo to meet a large number of Brazilian private sector firms ranging from airline executives and industrialists to construction firms and media entrepreneurs.

According to Mevs, “Our goal is to invite Brazilian airlines to fly into Haiti, to encourage Brazilian industrialists to invest in our textile sector, and to encourage construction firms to help us construct the new Haiti.”

The Haitian delegation will then travel to Rio de Janeiro, where Lamothe will hold meetings with Sergio Cabral, the governor of the state, and with Eduardo Paes, the mayor.

“My visit to Rio is to learn about the radical transformation of low income neighborhoods and draw lessons for similar areas throughout Haiti,” Lamothe stated. “We intend to sign an agreement between our respective police forces and also examine the experience of successful social programs that Brazil has used to accompany police intervention. We have much to learn from Brazil’s proven methods.”

Apart from seeking to return home with promises of private investment and additional government cooperation, the Haitian delegation will invite the largest Samba School in Rio and the winner of the 2012 Carnival to visit Haiti’s 2013 Carnival de Fleurs.


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