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Diaspora haïtienne, libérateurs économiques ou esclaves des temps modernes?

Posted Posted by Color of Hope in Column, HopEconomics, Opinion     Comments No comments
Oct
26

HopEconomics: Diaspora haïtienne, libérateurs économiques ou esclaves des temps modernes?

By Marc Saint Clair

COH Economics Program Director

 

 

 

 


Au temps de la colonie, il y avait deux types d’esclaves à Saint-Domingue : les esclaves des champs et ceux de la maison. Les ssclaves des champs comprenaient les hommes et les femmes qui accomplissaient le dur labeur manuel dans les champs ou les plantations. Leur style de vie était des plus pénibles dans des conditions les plus déplorables. Les esclaves domestiques, par contre, travaillaient et vivaient souvent dans la maison de leurs maîtres. Bien que les domestiques vivaient dans de meilleures conditions, eux et leurs enfants, tout comme leurs frères et soeurs des champs, étaient aussi condamnés dans les chaînes de la servitude pour toute leur vie.

Les compatriotes de la diaspora croient qu’ils sont des libérateurs financiers d’Haïti parce que leur transfert annuel d’argent à Haïti, estimé à 1,8 milliards de dollars américains, équivaut à près de 25% du produit interne brut total (PIB) en Haïti. Cette somme énorme serait incontestablement une force économique sur laquelle l’on pouvait compter. Mais malheureusement, au point de vue financier, cet argent en considération n’a pas atteint une dimension respectueuse. Chez nous, étant considéré comme une simple obligation de la diaspora, cet argent transféré en Haiti est loin d’ être un instrument financier viable.

Faits de la situation d’un individu moyen de la diaspora:

• Travailler 40-80 heures par semaine

• Transférer 1/3 de ses revenus à Haïti pour soutenir des membres de famille et d’autres proches

• Passer à ses enfants l’héritage du soutien de la famille en Haïti

• Individuellement, la cotisation mensuelle potentielle de 200 dollars US des membres de la diaspora ne sera pas capable de leur approcher même à un kilomètre en terme de retour d’investissement sur les accords de reconstruction signés en Haïti

• En dépit du travail manuel obligatoire que les membres de la diaspora accomplissent pour accumuler l’argent qu’ils transfèrent dans leur pays, ils ne font rien pour changer le statu quo parce qu’ils vivent plus confortablement que leurs homologues en Haïti

En 1870, Harriet Tubman utilisait clandestinement le chemin de fer, un réseau complexe de routes secrètes et de maisons d’hébergement, dans le but de libérer les esclaves du sud des Etats-Unis. Alors qu’elle essayait de libérer ces esclaves, beaucoup d’entre eux ne profitaient pas de cette opportunité qui leur était offerte. Tubman alors déclarait: “j’ai libéré un millier d’esclaves. J’aurais pu libérer un millier de plus si seulement ils savaient qu’ils étaient esclaves ”

Dans nos veines, nous autres Haïtiens, coule le sang de Toussaint Louverture, de Jean Jacques Dessalines et de bien d’autres qui sont des ancêtres illustres qui avaient changé le cours de l’histoire de l’humanité. Ils étaient des gens humbles, mais ils avaient néanmoins décidé de se mettre à la tâche de se développer une confiance mutuele qui leur conduisait aux dimensions d’une génération de libérateurs. Nous autres, fils et filles de ces héros, nous devons les dépasser. Notre génération est attendue depuis longtemps pour la performance, mais nous sommes en retard. Si vous lisez cet article en tant que membre de la diaspora et que vous sentez qu’il y a eu un problème, vous êtes probablement un héritier génétique de nos ancêtres et êtes aussi parmi chaque des six éléments sur 1000 membres de la diaspora haïtienne qui sont prêts à se mettre à la hauteur de leur tâche. Même au plus fort de la technologie, des connaissances et même avec une richesse cumulative US$ 1.8 Billion, qu’est-ce qui empêchera à la majorité des compatriotes de la diaspora d’admettre qu’ils ne sont que des esclaves des temps économique modernes?

Recommendations:

Fait:
Il y a des instruments financiers rentables qui sont aujourd’hui disponibles en Haïti, mais qui sont hors de portée pour environ 80% de la population. Deux choses sont à présent applicables :

1. Soit tous les “mounpa” se mettent à l’affaire avant qu’elle ne devienne publique ou

2. Les entreprises existantes demandent un minimum de $ 100,000 – $ 250,000 pour participer à tout accord significatif qui pourrait rapporter un revenu proportionnel à la croissance projetée d’Haïti. Le statu quo stratégique et financier est en train d’exploiter à plus de 90% la majorité des Haïtiens vivant en Haïti et à l’étranger.

Solution:
Les sociétés financières ont besoin de créer des instruments pour le groupe démuni, soit environ 80% de la population. Si c’est réussi avec succès :

• Plus d’Haïtiens seront, dans l’espace d’une génération, capables de passer du niveau de la pauvreté à celui de la classe moyenne.

• Le revenu disponible augmenter substantiellement, ainsi que la consommation et la tarte entière.

• Les Haïtiens seront en mesure d’acheter des entreprises des actions à prix abordables, d’utiliser leur portefeuille à titre de garantie pour crédit, devenir automatiquement independants des banques, d’être en meilleure position pour laisser un héritage financier pour leurs enfants, par opposition à une condamnation à perpétuité dans les chaines.

Read the English version of this article here

Marc Saint Clair is COH Economics Program Director (business & entrepreneurship) and one of the Managing Partners at Haiti Ventures LLC. – Email Marc

HopEconomics – Economics for Hope

 

French translation by:
PROBILINGUAL INTERPRETATION SERVICES
[email protected]” 774-826-7740

Haitian Diaspora, Economic Liberators or Modern Day Slaves?

Posted Posted by Color of Hope in Column, HopEconomics, Opinion     Comments No comments
Oct
26

HopEconomics: Haitian Diaspora, Economic Liberators or Modern Day Slaves?

By Marc Saint Clair

COH Economics Program Director

 

 

 

 


Many years ago, there were two types of slaves in Haiti; field slaves and house slaves. Field slaves were slaves who did the hard manual labor in the fields of plantations. They lived the harshest life and lived in the most deplorable conditions. House slaves on the other hand worked and often lived in the house of the slave-owner. While house slaves lived in better conditions, they along with their kids were slated to be in bondage their entire lives.

The Diaspora believes that it is the financial liberator of Haiti because it’s annual 1.8 Billions in remittance equals nearly 25% of Haiti’s entire GDP. Such a sheer amount would unquestionably be an economic force to reckon with. Unfortunately, remittance money has not achieved financial respect. Furthermore, it is merely viewed back home as a mandatory obligation of the Diaspora as opposed to a viable financial instrument.

Situation facts of the average Diaspora:
-Work 40-80 hours per week. 1/3rd of income goes to Haiti to support family and loved ones
– Will pass the legacy of supporting family in Haiti to their kids
-Individually, their respective $200 monthly potential contribution will not even get them within one mile of any returnable investment reconstruction deals in Haiti
– Despite mandatory manual labor to accumulate money for remittance, they do nothing to change the status quo because they live more comfortably than their counterparts in Haiti

In 1870 Harriet Tubman used the underground railroad, an elaborate network of secret routes and safe houses, to free slaves from the south. As she tried to free some of the slaves, many resisted the opportunity. She said that “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if they only knew they were slaves”

In our veins run the bloodline of Toussaint Louverture, Jean Jacques Dessalines and many more. These amazing men changed the course of humanity. They were yet simple men that took on the task to trust one another and became a generation of liberators. Sons and daughters are supposed to outdo their parents. Our generation is long overdue for performance. If you are a Diaspora reading this and felt that this has been a problem, you’re probably a genetic carrier of our forefathers and are among six out of every 1000 Haitian Diaspora that are willing to rise to the occasion. Even at the height of technology, knowledge and even a cumulative $1.8Billion wealth, why won’t the Diaspora see that it is a modern day economic slave?

Recommendations:

Fact:

Profitable financial instruments available in Haiti today are out of reach for 80% of the population. Two things apply:
1. Either all the “MP” gets on the deal prior to it becoming public or
2. Existing firms require a minimum of $100,000-$250,000 to participate in any meaningful deal that would bring a return that commensurate with Haiti’s projected growth. The status quo strategically and financially box out over 90% of all Haitians living in Haiti and abroad.

In Solution:
Financial companies need to create instruments for the other 80% of the population. If this is done successfully:

1. More Haitians will be able to catapult from poverty into middle class within one generation
2. Disposable income will increase, as well as consumption and the entire pie
3. Haitians would be able to buy affordable shares of companies, use their portfolio as collateral for credit, automatically become banked and be in a better position to leave a financial inheritance for their kids as opposed to a perpetual remittance shackle.

Read the French version of this article here

Marc Saint Clair is COH Economics Program Director (business & entrepreneurship) and one of the Managing Partners at Haiti Ventures LLC. – Email Marc

HopEconomics – Economics for Hope

The Travesty of Haitian Entrepreneurs in Haiti

Posted Posted by Color of Hope in Column, HopEconomics, Opinion     Comments 1 comment
Aug
24

HopEconomics: The Travesty of Haitian Entrepreneurs in Haiti

By Marc Saint Clair

COH Economics Program Director

 

 

 

 


Note that there are two types of entrepreneurship; Necessity entrepreneurship and Opportunity entrepreneurship. The focus of this article will be mostly on Opportunity entrepreneurship. Necessity entrepreneurship is the practice of entrepreneurship where the lack of opportunity or employment leads one to start a business to sustain life and the household. Opportunity entrepreneurship is when an entrepreneur sees a problem and a market and creates a solution for the problem.

According to doingbusiness.org, Haiti ranked 180 out of 183 economies in starting a business. There are elements that are unknown to the world that Haitian entrepreneurs face on their journey. As a result, through time, it has become readily easier to become a nation that depends on handouts and donation as opposed to climbing the ladder of entrepreneurial success. 
Haitian entrepreneurs have a more challenging journey in comparison to their comparables in the Caribbean region and the rest of the world. There are six major areas that I will highlight that are pain points for Haitian entrepreneurs in Haiti.

Hunger

Hunger is by far the worst weapon that exists on this planet. To prevent your household from falling prey to it, you sell your body and even your integrity. If you are busy hungry, you won’t have time to solve the world’s problem. In order to successfully work on a business, entrepreneurs need to be in an ecosystem where the need for food, shelter and security are temporarily met. Stressors such as eminent need for food and shelter are short term present needs that affect an entrepreneur’s decision to engage in opportunity entrepreneurship. For this reason, would-be entrepreneurs as well as the majority of the Haitian population practice scorched-earth entrepreneurship. This is a condition where the entrepreneur will do anything to get the first payment from you and burn the bridge right after the first payment regardless of the consequences. For this reason, Diaspora and other businessmen in Haiti are weary of going into business with would be untested Haitian entrepreneurs.


Prototyping & Proof of Concept
Businesses that are starting usually need to create a proof of concept in order to get financing. It is also an essential test to find out if the proposed idea has legs to stand on. For Technology Company it is a milder version of the system. For a retail business it is a list of existing customers. For a Hotel business it is a pile of letters of intents and contracts. In order to do that, you must be able to use the bootstrap approach, wit and ingenuity to bring in the various stakeholders to make what seem as a dust in the wind a solid and sure thing. It is hard to reach anyone in Haiti. It is virtually impossible to connect with decision makers for potential partnership. Unfortunately, due to many reasons including security, an entrepreneur can travel to a key decision maker’s office every day for 3 months and not get a chance to talk to anyone. It is impossible to get an engineer with cutting edge technology knowledge to embark on an unsure journey with you for free. Lastly, there is the expertise challenge. Those that would be willing to help probably do not have cutting edge knowledge and technology to help.

Financing

Entrepreneurs usually look to family, friends and fools to get money to launch their venture. Given the economic structure and poverty prevalence in Haiti, in my estimation, well over 95% of the entrepreneurs do not have access to family, friends or fools that all together can lend them more than $1,000 to start a business.

Microfinance usually has a ladder system. You borrow between $10- $50 and return the money. Over time they trust you with more in a very calculated ladder system. For most opportunity entrepreneurship initiatives, starting microfinance money is not even enough to buy enough ink to write the idea on paper let alone creating a pilot.

Banks will not lend if you have no cash flow, history, family name, connection or collateral. Since the earthquake, the collateral inventory in Haiti has been significantly reduced.

USAID and grant money are urban legends. For some reason, they all end up doing some training that really add no kick start value to the cycle of opportunity entrepreneurship. Talk to Haitians on the street looking for jobs. They all have 2-7 of these diplomas from these trainings and still cannot create or find a job. Everyone end up with a diploma that is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Business plan competitions help identify great writers and public speakers.The competition is clustered about training (yes more training) and giving a handful of people a check. All of them miss the true value of these competitions. Bringing in key decision makers to give entrepreneurs access to these people ought to be the key components of these event. Instead, they give a check to the better writer and articulator at the end and pat you on the back. No market connection, no pulling strings for the winner to get sales.

Cost to Register
It cost approximately $4,000 just to register your business in Haiti. If you are an entrepreneur earning minimum wage of $5 per day that would like to incorporate, you would need to work for 3 years and 2 months consecutively and save every dollar earned just to have enough money to incorporate the company. Don’t feel bad for Haiti, there is one other country out of all 183 countries in the world that has it worst than us. The Democratic Republic of Congo has a 5.5 year cost of income per capita ratio. Entrepreneurs would have to save all their money earned for 5.5 years just to incorporate. In comparison, an entrepreneur from Rwanda can easily save all his minimum wage earnings for a period of 17 days and have enough to incorporate his company. Rwanda is ranked #45 out of 183 countries in starting a business. 
Time is a sensitive issue. Opportunity cost does not wait. If the entrepreneur was planning on developing a technology company, by the time the entrepreneur raises the money to incorporate, the technology is probably obsolete.
As a result, very few entrepreneurs formally register.

 

Time to Register

It takes an average of 105 days to register a company in Haiti. In Jamaica, it takes about 7 days to register. Again we are not the worst; there are 5 other countries out of 183 that take longer than Haiti to process a registration. Nevertheless we always find a way to be at the very bottom of every meaningful list. What this means is that if you are the average entrepreneur that finds out about a last minute opportunity such as a business plan competition that requires you to incorporate, then you lose the opportunity because you have to wait over 3 months to register. This is the same for an investment pitch opportunity.

Kidnapping
Now that the entrepreneurs overcame all the challenges above, they are rewarded with being on about three different list of kidnapers. For some reason, it is the people close to you or others in the neighborhood watching your slow ascension to success. In the need to capitalize on easy income, they talk to amateurs and established kidnappers to hold the entrepreneur for ransom. After a Kidnapping journey, the next kidnapper realized how much you pay, and then they want to have a turn. Finally the third one.

 

Recommendations:

Hunger

If you need to feed the family or have eminent need for cash as opposed to develop a venture there are no ways around it. There are simply mild countermeasures.
1) You can focus your search for jobs within the same industry to develop contact list for partnership.
2) Find reliable and resourceful team members to divvy up work
3) Reach out to Diaspora family and friends with a solid plan. Even if you have to pull 20 Diaspora families for $200 from all the team members, you’d raise about $4,000 for your new venture. Make sure you have a contract. They strongly believe in it.
4) Keep your word!

Protyping
Find Haitian Engineers living outside of Haiti on Linkedin.com or on Facebook. Join Haitian professional groups and ask for prototyping advisers. If you find the right person, you might get more than just advice.

Financing

1) Pull together with your church group
2) Start a small investment group with like minded people
3) Ask people with money for advice. They love talking and giving advice. Let them know how you have been progressing. Eventually they will trust you with money. Never ask for money directly, especially if you meet them the first time. 
Get as much done as possible with limited resources. Be a chess master. If you are in Haiti, partner with a Haitian Organizations outside of Haiti to get them to connect to key decision makers for you in Haiti to drive sales. Attend as many events as possible.

Cost to Register
1) Government registration fees should not be more than $100 US. They will make it up in volume.
2) Government should automate the registration process.

Time to Register

Just cut it down to 15 business days. It is possible.

Kidnapping
1) Haitian Government should reverse the abolition of the death penalty in Haiti. This will reduce the inventory of would be kidnappers and future deportees to Haiti.
2) Haitian Government should create a rewards program for people that give reliable tips that lead to a successful conviction of kidnappers.
3) As a successful entrepreneurs, always let others around you know that things are not as well with you as they look. Don’t flaunt your success. Be humble!

Marc Saint Clair is COH Economics Program Director (business & entrepreneurship) and one of the Managing Partners at Haiti Ventures LLC. – Email Marc

HopEconomics – Economics for Hope

 


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