the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

Haitian Artisans and MIF Partners at the New York Gift Fair

Por Nara Meli

From January 26 to January 30, New York City hosted the Winter 2013 NY International Gift Fair (NYIGF). This semiannual trade show brings more than 2,800 exhibitors from around the world, and 35,000 attendees from over 80 countries. The exhibitors showcase over 100,000 products in 400 categories in the home, lifestyle and handmade industries. This is the second NYIGF where Haitian artisans who are part of the Artisan Business Network (ABN) had a chance to exhibit their work. 

Investment for Haiti

Por Nara Meli

Yesterday, I was lucky to attend a roundtable discussion at the Council of the Americas with Haitian Ambassador Paul Altidor. I thought he brought in an interesting example of putting words into action, so I wanted to share it with you. Now, at the time of the third anniversary of the earthquake, the media is flooded with so-called “reports” about the situation on the ground in Haiti. Mostas you know, are bleak. So, what is the problem here? According to Ambassador Altidor, one of Haiti’s principal challenges is exactly this: Perception. 

4 ways to move forward with handicrafts in Haiti

Por Nara Meli

Back in June, we gave you a taste of what MIF was cooking in the artisan sector in Haiti. Six months ago, we were in the very early stages of defining what it is we wanted to do in the project. Since then, we worked hard, in consultation with the Artisan Business Network, a team of high-level consultants, and feedback from the artisans themselves, to build an initiative that would have an impact on artisans’ incomes and improve their links to the value chain. So, what is the main problem Haitian artisans face?

Can South-South Cooperation boost the coffee value chain and improve rural development in Haiti?

Por Jempsy Fils-Aimé

South-South Cooperation is not a new concept in development speak. The term has been used since the 1990s by development thinkers, policymakers and academics to describe the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries. In Haiti, for the past twenty years, cooperation with other developing countries has played an important role in the development process, complementing traditional international aid. It began mainly with Cuba and Venezuela, and then extended to other countries like Brazil. Following the 2010 earthquake, new countries, such as Senegal, have joined in supporting Haiti. Another country, Colombia, is interested in revitalizing the Haitian coffee value chain through “soft” investments – study tours in both countries, training in Colombia for young Haitian professionals and research on introducing new coffee varieties in Haiti.

Where innovation pays off: Helping low-income Haitians access environmentally-friendly energy products

Por Nara Meli

In April 2011, the MIF approved a pilot project to improve low-income Haitians’ access to environmentally-friendly electricity by using remittances to buy sustainable energy products. The project, “Remittances as a source of end-user finance for sustainable energy”, is the result of a partnership with Arc Finance, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the Basel Agency for Sustainable Development (BASE), and FoodExpress/SogeXpress, companies based in the US and Haiti. The project is testing an innovative remittance transfer model, where the clients use remittances to buy energy products: members of the Haitian diaspora living in the US can directly purchase low-cost and energy-efficient products to send to Haiti, with SogeXpress, the local Haitian partner, delivering the products in Haiti, also directly benefiting from capacity building and strengthening of the business model. This is a model that has not yet been tested anywhere else in the world, and is a path breaking initiative. The MIF has clear added value in this project given its great knowledge of remittances and access foci on climate change, energy access, payments and transfers, and Haiti.