Haiti, dare to dream higher than the sewing jobs you've got!


    Prime-Minister Lamothe announced recently that he wants to create thousands of jobs for Haiti in the textile industry. Those are the low paying, labor intensive jobs offered by the big international brands. This is acceptable as a short-term solution considering the state of the economy in Haiti and the high unemployment rate. But in the same time, it seems like the Haitian people are viewed as most suited for rigorous labor-type work. Of course this has a reason behind it: there is a very high rate of illiteracy - 47% of Haitians do not know how to read or write, according to the CIA World Fact book. Moreover, we all know that about 87% of university graduates have already left the country. With these statistics in mind it is easy to take the "realistic" approach to economic development: create jobs that the population is able to perform and work hard with their hands.

    But is this all that the Haitian people are able to offer? Is this The Dream? If not, what is the dream for Haiti?

    As the nation's official leaders, why not dare to have bigger dreams for Haitians, why not look at your people, see and trust that they are capable of doing other kinds of jobs as well, not just farming and sewing. See in your people the extraordinary talent, see them as being capable of competing at quality, not just quantity, in the global market.

    Haiti is a nation that has a lot to offer. The key questions are: What are the country's strengths? What are Haitians most talented at? What are the sectors that Haitians can compete in regionally and globally?

    To come up with that kind of vision may not be easy. It takes self-assessment as a nation. It takes leadership. It takes a lot of belief in what Haitians are capable of and what they deserve. Ultimately, it might take raising the overall level of the national pride and people's self-esteem. Belief is the key. Belief in what Haiti can be if it develops a vision and applies all of its talents and efforts intelligently, with unwavering passion.

    I haven't seen a Government vision for Haiti, short or long term, that will inspire its people. A vision that will make every Haitian strive to learn and work with all their hearts to achieve higher goals, to create better lives for themselves.

    Why not have a vision for Haiti to become the Center of Global Creativity, for example, as defined by Kylti, a US non-profit organization, which states: Haiti, the Arts, Design, and Culture Capital of the Western Hemisphere. Haiti has an abundance of amazing artists!

    Or, why not focus on the IT sector in Haiti and follow Estonia's development path. Estonia, a developing country in Eastern Europe that has a population of only 1.3 million, embraced technology and became the region's IT hot spot. Estonia has built technology parks, education facilities, etc., and consequently Estonia has offered opportunity to its people.

    Tourism is obviously another sector in Haiti that has a lot of potential. The government has recognized the importance of this sector. Having a flourishing Tourism industry will be fantastic, as it will support a range of other industries such as food, transportation, hospitality, entertainment, arts and crafts, etc. But how exactly does the vision for tourism development looks like? How does Haiti want to position itself as a tourism destination? What is different about Haiti as a tourism destination in comparison with other Caribbean destinations? Right now most of what the world sees when it comes to Haiti's tourism identity is the flower (hibiscus) chosen as a symbol for Haiti's tourism and the tag line that says, "Experience it!” I don't even want to enumerate the words that the international community generally associates Haiti with. There's a lot to be done, beginning with developing the vision.

    For example, Aruba's vision is to boost tourism not just through promotion of its gorgeous beaches, which all Caribbean countries have, but also by developing its Cultural tourism. Tourists travel to Aruba to enjoy a variety of cultural events as a bonus to the white beaches and hot weather.

    What is our vision? How far do we dare to dream? How much do we believe in our people? Will some of us quit the sewing jobs and change the course forever?


1 comment
  • Marcel Wah
    Marcel Wah A video worth watching on a great example of political vision and will (Germany): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNxmB5l_wx0
    May 30, 2013