US government sets up fund to help create jobs in Haiti

· USAid sets up $2m investment fund
· House of Representatives approves hurricane relief
· USAid commits $2m for emergency bridges

Haitian Americans who have long dreamed of creating jobs in Haiti, but lacked the capital, can now get a little help, courtesy of the US government.

Henrietta Fore, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAid), said the agency has set up a $2m (£1m) investment fund to assist members of the Haitian diaspora who have a sustainable business plan and are willing to partner with Haiti's private sector to create jobs in the country.

"We are trying to get small and medium businesses that can provide employment, and put money in the pockets of Haitians," Fore said after making the announcement to a group of Haitians in New York, where she was making the rounds at the United Nations General Assembly. "This at least will get things started."

Fore said the agency is still in the process of designing the fund, known as The Haiti Diaspora Investment Challenge Facility, but applicants will be allowed to apply for up to $100,000 (£54,000) grants. Her agency is also talking to donors from other countries in hopes of having them donate money to the fund. "For every dollar we put in, we are hoping it will be matched by at least $2 by diaspora investments," she said.

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives approved the inclusion of $100m for hurricane relief and reconstruction assistance to Haiti and other Caribbean nations the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act. Representatives Alcee Hastings and Kendrick Meek, both Florida Democrats and co-chairmen of the Congressional Black Caucus' Haiti Working Group, said they were encouraged by the vote.

Fore, who flew to Haiti shortly after hurricane Ike hit there, said USAid has committed $30m (£16) in emergency relief to the island so far, including $2m for emergency bridges to help reconnect the country after eight major bridges collapsed.

Also, with more than half of this year's harvest destroyed, Fore said USAid is redirecting the $279m (£152) it had already committed to the country to address agriculture needs and other concerns.

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Can Davos help Haiti? | Lindsay Mackie

Lindsay Mackie: Davos: A discussion about harnessing global business to reconstruct Haiti struck some uncomfortable notes

Lindsay Mackie

29, Jan, 2010 @10:30 AM

How can lawyers help Haiti? | Afua Hirsch

Afua Hirsch: From monitoring NGOs to supporting children's rights, international lawyers are vital to Haiti's reconstruction efforts

Afua Hirsch

26, Mar, 2010 @2:30 PM

Article image
Michelle Obama visits Haiti

Michelle Obama makes a surprise visit to the devastated Haitian capital

14, Apr, 2010 @10:05 AM

Article image
US troops withdrawing from Haiti
Earthquake survivors fear mass pullout of troops is a sign of dwindling international support

Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent

08, Mar, 2010 @4:55 PM

Article image
Haiti earthquake: In God's name

Soon after the quake, 10 US Baptists were arrested trying to smuggle 33 children out of Haiti. Were they just trying to help, as they claim, or was something more sinister going on?

Ed Pilkington in New York and Inigo Gilmore in Callabasse

13, Feb, 2010 @12:07 AM

Haiti: Waiting for Washington
Editorial: Haitians are looking to the first black president of the United States as their saviour, and he should have no qualms about putting as many US boots on the ground as he is able


20, Jan, 2010 @12:05 AM

Haiti: Disaster beyond magnitude
Editorial: Too many untested claims have been made about the capacity to build states around the world. But Haiti is surely one failed state on Washington's doorstep that US power is in a unique position to help right now


15, Jan, 2010 @12:05 AM

Article image
Haiti homeless reach 2 million

• Quake survivors in makeshift camps face disease
• US prepares to send 4,000 more troops

Rory Carroll in Port-au-Prince, Esther Addley and James Meikle

21, Jan, 2010 @12:20 PM

Article image
Haiti charges American missionaries with child kidnapping

Ten members of Idaho-based charity New Life Children's Refuge are also accused of criminal association

05, Feb, 2010 @1:06 PM

Article image
Troops protect vital Haiti aid supplies

Ed Pilkington reports from Port-au-Prince airport, where US marines are helping secure food, water and medicine for earthquake victims

Ed Pilkington

19, Jan, 2010 @11:51 AM