Koios Associates has completed its environmental and social impact assessment of a 243-hectare industrial park in the commune of Caracol, in Haiti's Northeast Province, midway between Cap-Haitien and Fort Liberte. Koios, which carried out the initial feasibility study and conceptual plan for the park in 2010 on behalf of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and assisted the Haitian Government in identifying an apropriate location, was subsequently retained by the MInistry of Finance to carry out an environmental and social impact assessment of the project.
The industrial park is a centerpiece of the multilateral efforts to rebuild Haiti's economy and to create economic development poles outside the capital city, Port au Prince. In January 2011, in conjunction with ceremonies to mark the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the island nation on January 12, 2010, the Haitian Government, the U.S. Government, the IDB, and South Korean textile group SAE-A signed a memorandum of agreement to develop the park at an estimated cost of $250 million, which includes not only the park infrastructure and buildings but also U.S.-funded housing developments in the region, construction of a new power plant, and improvements to Cap Haitien port facilities.
Construction is expected to begin in August 2011, and the first factories should begin operations in mid-2012. SAE-A intends to establish the first integrated textile and garment factory in Haiti, which will include knitting and dyeing of fabric in addition to cut-and-sew garment assembly operations common in other Haitian factories. The park, which will be built in two phases, is expected to directly create up to 40,000 new jobs, while indirect employment is expected to create an additional 40,000 jobs. The project overall will provide jobs and income for as many as 500,000 Haitians, representing 5% of the country's population.
Koios's latest assignment included an assessment of baseline social and environmental conditions, identification of risk factors, and preparation of a detailed plan to manage those risks.
Oxford University economist Paul Collier, who wrote a development plan for Haiti for the United Nations before the earthquake, said, "This is the development as it should be done", noting the focus placed on job creation rather than on humanitarian aid. "This project will provide decent jobs, which in a fragile state, is a key priority, and will have a significant multiplier effect [...] the location of the project in the north, will help to decentralize development in Haiti, another key objective."
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, co-Chair of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission, said of the project, "This [project] will be a match that strikes a fire, and gets things going."
Koios's reports, including the feasibility study and the environmental and social impact assessment, can be found on the IDB web site.
Feasibility Study: http://idbdocs.iadb.org/wsdocs/getdocument.aspx?docnum=36190078
Environmental and Social Impact Assessment: http://idbdocs.iadb.org/wsdocs/getdocument.aspx?docnum=36185911