Business forum in Haiti seeks more investments

Business leaders discussed new possibilities for Haiti at a conference designed to bring more money and jobs to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The two-day Invest in Haiti Forum in the capital, Port-au-Prince, was aimed at highlighting business opportunities in the country. The Inter-American Development Bank organized the event along with the Haitian government and the Clinton Foundation.

Haitian President Michel Martelly said his government wants to create 500,000 jobs during the next three years.

The Inter-American Development Bank says participants have discussed opportunities in areas such as apparel, tourism and agribusiness, as well as infrastructure projects linked to Haiti’s reconstruction and development efforts. New projects include a Marriott hotel planned for Port-au-Prince and a South Korean-run industrial park.

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton said the forum shows the world that Haiti is again open for business.

The Inter-American Development Bank says companies, non-profits and government agencies from 29 foreign countries and territories took part in the conference which ended Wednesday. International companies have long been hesitant to do business in Haiti because of political instability and cumbersome laws.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and is still recovering from a January 2010 earthquake that devastated much of Port-au-Prince.

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