Recognizing that Haiti's recovery from the disastrous January 12th earthquake will stagnate unless new job opportunities are created, the U.S. and Haiti signed two Memoranda of Understanding that could dramatically improve the lives of thousands of Haitians.
The first agreement, which was signed by the U.S., Haiti, and representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation and South Korea’s Sae-A Trading Company, will establish an industrial park and a garment manufacturing operation that has the potential to create more than 10,000 permanent jobs.
"And these are not just any jobs," said U.S. signatory Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
"These are good jobs with fair pay that adhere to international labor standards. And the impact on Haiti’s economy has enormous potential for being significant and sending a message that Haiti is open for business again."
By signing the second agreement, the U.S. and France agree to each commit $25 million to help rebuild the University Hospital of Haiti, the central public hospital for Port-au-Prince which also serves as the country's main teaching hospital.
"In the wake of the terrible quake," said Secretary of State Clinton, "many spoke about the need, not only to rebuild what was lost, but to fundamentally re-imagine the Haitian landscape by building a stronger economy, better infrastructure, and a sturdier social system, not just in Port-au-Prince but nationwide."
The 2 newly-signed memoranda will support that effort, she said:
"They will encourage progress in 2 areas that are key to Haiti’s long-term recovery: creating jobs and providing a foundation for rebuilding the country’s health system."
"This work is important and there is no time to waste," said Secretary of State Clinton. "People are suffering. They need jobs, they need health care, they need us – their own government and the international community – to follow through on our promises and translate our good intentions to real concrete progress on the ground.
"We look forward to working with our partners in the private sector to leverage capital and create these jobs, and with them, the better lives that Haitians are seeking for themselves and their families."