WASHINGTON, USA – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) yesterday said it had approved a US$50 million grant to Haiti for the second phase of construction of the Caracol Industrial park which it described as a modern manufacturing facility in the northern region of the French-speaking country.
The IDB said it expects to provide up to US$180 million in grants over a six-year period for the new industrial park, which is being built on a 250-hectare plot of state-owned land.
It said once the project is completed, the facility could host as many as 40,000 workers in a region where there are few formal job opportunities.
Since the IDB made an initial grant of $55 million for the project in July 2011, the park has welcomed its first tenant, a Korean textile manufacturer that has started to hire and train hundreds of workers to export garments to the United States.
Société Nationale des Parcs Industriels (SONAPI), the government agency that owns the new manufacturing facility, is holding talks with several foreign and local companies interested in establishing operations in northern Haiti.
A Haitian paint manufacturer has already signed up to become the second tenant, with plans to hire as many as 300 workers.
The IDB said its resources will be used to finance the construction of factory shells, administrative and residential buildings, internal roads, water and wastewater treatment plants, and utility connections.
The new grant includes funds for additional hydrological studies, as well as for hiring firms to manage and maintain the new facility and to monitor tenants’ compliance with labour laws, health and safety standards and social and environmental safeguards.
Beyond the industrial park’s perimeter, the IDB will provide technical assistance to strengthen local municipal governments by improving their capacity to manage urban planning and public services and by financing small infrastructure projects, such as access roads and community centres, with a particular emphasis on gender issues as well as a solid waste management and recycling facility.
IDB resources will also support a project, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environmental Facility, to establish a protected area and marine natural park in the Caracol Bay which features a large mangrove system.
The IDB is Haiti’s leading multilateral donor. Since the 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and left destroyed many buildings, the bank has approved US$590 million in new grants and disbursed more than US$479 million to support projects in agriculture, education, energy, transport, water and sanitation and private sector development.