China plans to invest $30 billion in Haiti’s infrastructure according to the Haitian Press Agency (AHP). Recently the Mayor of Port-au-Prince, Youri Chevry, hosted a signing of an agreement between the Haitian company Bati Ayiti (Build Haiti), headed by former Senator Amos André, and the Southwest Municipal Engineering and Design Research Institute of China.
The agreement includes the construction of a 600 megawatt power plant to electrify Port-au-Prince, the construction of a new City Hall, markets, thousands of apartments, and eventually a railway from Port-au-Prince to the countryside. The center of the discussion was “the reconstruction of the main building of the Town Hall and the construction of several public contracts on the territory of the commune of Port-au-Prince,” according to LoopHaiti.
20,000 workers will begin work before the end of 2017, backed by an initial infusion of $5 billion. The Chinese Government has a deadline of September 30, 2017 to unblock the funds. In the meantime, Bati Ayiti, the City of Port-au-Prince and their partners continue to work on the recruitment of staff.
Last May, China’s president Xi Jinping hosted the first Belt and Road Forum (“One Belt, One Road”) in Beijing, offering hundreds of billions of dollars to over 100 interested countries for infrastructure projects. Haiti stands to be a beneficiary of the ambitious Chinese initiative, which is modeled on the ancient “Silk Road.” 2,000 years ago China opened up routes of trade that linked the civilizations of Asia, Europe and Africa. China now stands to have influence in the Caribbean corridor stretching from Cuba to Venezuela.