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FEATURE STORY

Haiti: Mining for Economic Growth

July 25, 2013

Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Haiti has significant geological and mining potential but production in the country is still marginal.
  • 1st Mining Forum was a milestone in the World Bank supported process of establishing a modern and efficient mining sector in Haiti.
  • Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, believes mining income will allow Haiti to reduce (at least in part) its dependence on foreign aid.

Mining is a complex sector but, when managed in a transparent and sustainable fashion, it can help reduce poverty and promote economic growth.

This is one of the main conclusions of Haiti’s 1st Mining Forum held beginning of June under the auspices of Haiti’s Council of Economic and Social Development (CESD) with support from the World Bank, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Public Works.

“By 2020 we want to see the emergence of Haiti”, says Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe. “To achieve this, we are counting heavily on the contribution of the mining sector, which clearly has the potential to strengthen and diversify our economy”.

Last week, a workshop was held at the office of the Prime Minister to distribute the reports of the Forum and further the dialogue between representatives of the private sector, of the government, of Chambers of Commerce and academia.

Haiti’s mining sector is currently constrained by an outdated legal framework, weak institutional capacity and widespread lack of information about the sector among the press, members of parliament and the general public.

The World Bank is helping to overcome this situation by providing expertise and lessons learned from the international experience in improving the policy and legal frameworks for mining.

At the 1st Mining Forum, international and national experts shared their knowledge on the mining sector with an audience made up of government, private sector and civil society representatives.

Alexander Medina, the director of the Mines and Energy Office of neighboring Dominican Republic, stated that “mining has made a very positive contribution to the Dominican Republic, creating jobs, supporting economic growth and providing income to the government.”

Gerardo Castillo, Professor at the Catholic University of Peru, argued that transparent management of mining income is key to overcoming social tensions. For example, “the Conga project – the largest expected investment in Peru ($5 billion) – has been put on hold due to massive local and regional opposition” said Castillo.

As the World Bank’s senior country officer, Deo Ndikumana, said of the Forum, “this event marks a seminal step towards a shared vision of mining development in Haiti.”

A new law, strengthened institutional capacity, and transparency are critical next steps to unblock the exploration of Haiti’s gold and copper potential and pave the way for this promising new wealth-generating sector.