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IDB approves $50 million grant for Haiti’s Caracol Industrial Park

Resources for additional manufacturing facilities, improved social and environmental conditions, Caracol Bay protected area

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced the approval of a $50 million grant to Haiti for the second phase of construction of the Caracol Industrial Park, a modern manufacturing facility in the Caribbean country’s northern region.

The IDB expects to provide up to $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. 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 Caracol Industrial 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 and an older one in Port-au-Prince, is in 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.

IDB resources are financing 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 labor 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 centers, 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 Program and the Global Environmental Facility, to establish a protected area and marine natural park in the Caracol Bay, which features a large mangrove system.

In addition, the IDB is also providing assistance to strengthen SONAPI’s institutional capacity to attract more investors to Haiti.

These investments are being complemented by donations from the U.S. government, which financed the construction of a power generation plant for the industrial park that will have sufficient capacity to supply neighboring towns. U.S. resources are also financing the construction of hundreds of houses in a nearby community.

Through other ongoing programs, the IDB will support the construction of additional housing, schools and water and sanitation systems in municipalities close to the Caracol Industrial Park. IDB-financed agriculture and transport projects will also prioritize investments in northern Haiti.

The IDB is Haiti’s leading multilateral donor. Since the 2010 earthquake it has approved $590 million in new grants and disbursed more than $479 million to support projects in agriculture, education, energy, transport, water and sanitation and private sector development.

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The IDB expects to provide up to $180 million to help Haiti develop the Caracol Industrial Park, a modern manufacturing facility for local and foreign companies active in different economic sectors.