Haiti and the US Engage In Energy Talks

Haiti has seen a tremendous number of staggering problems over the last decade. In fact, Haiti has been enduring several enormous issues since independence. Today, battered and bruised, the country is looking to bounce back, to fight against the odds and hopefully emerge triumphant.

A major part of Haiti's quest, as anyone would imagine must be supported by its various partners worldwide. In doing so, the country will be able to rely on others for support in various areas as it looks to rebuild. One such critical area is energy. If Haiti can successfully stabilize its energy situation, it will be in a much better position than it is today for a variety of reasons.

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This is why Haiti has engaged powerful countries such as its neighbour, the United States, in an effort to provide innovative and worthwhile energy solutions to fuel its economy forward.

Troubled Energy Sector

Like most other industries, Haiti’s energy sector is in shambles. Not only are power facilities in ruins, but the energy transmission grid are not in the best shape. Moreover, the sector is also burdened by low production capacity, non-payment, chronic management and other factors. The result- only 31 percent of Haitians have access to electricity, according to government data. To this end, Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has engaged in talks with US officials and multilateral partners aimed at developing solutions to restructure the country’s troubled energy sector.

Sector Losses

The problems outlined above translate to one major problem – monetary losses. According to the government, the energy sector is experiencing “huge losses” every year.

Discussions

PM Lamothe was joined by US State Department official Cheryl Mills, US Ambassador to Haiti, Pamela White and representatives of the World Bank and the Inter-American Investment Bank. The talks revolved around the management of the country’s energy and the creation of a public-private partnership to improve both the production and distribution of electricity, according to Lamothe.

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Haiti-USA Partnership

If the talks are successful, the potential partnership would involve bringing in foreign investors to provide “technical assistance” to the government to improve the country’s energy systems, Lamothe’s office said. The government said donors expressed their “full commitment” to help Haiti develop a new energy policy.

It is hoped then that the talks will translate into actual arrangements and implementation of the various solutions that arise. Once this is done, the energy sector in Haiti will be able to rise to a solid footing and once again provide substantial service to the various industries that depend on it. If this happens, it will be a massive step forward for Haiti as such improvements may, indeed, propel Haiti’s energy sector to the heights of a model for the rest of the Caribbean.

By: Norvan Martin

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