France and Haiti

Political relations

Connected through shared language and history, neighbours with the French territories in the Americas, Haiti and France have close ties of friendship and solidarity. While trade relations with Haiti have traditionally been modest, political relations have been strengthened by numerous visits, notably the visit by President François Hollande to Port-au-Prince on 12 May 2015. The wave of solidarity seen in France following the earthquake of 12 January 2010 and then hurricane Matthew in October 2016 clearly breathed new life into this relationship, despite the fact that French cooperation had already developed considerably since free elections were held in 2006.

Visits

  • Mr Jean-Pierre Bel, President of the French Senate, accompanied by Senator Bernard Piras, chair of the French-Caribbean friendship group met with Haitian President Martelly, Prime Minister Lamotte and Senate President Desras from 29 July to 2 August 2014.
  • Mr François Hollande, President of France, made an official visit to Port-au-Prince on 12 May 2015. He was accompanied by the Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ms Ségolène Royal, the Minister of Justice, Ms Christiane Taubira, the Minister of Culture and Communication, Ms Fleur Pellerin, the Minister for Overseas France, Ms George Pau-Langevin, the Minister of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights, Ms Marisol Touraine, the Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, Ms Annick Girardin and the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, Mr Matthias Fekl.
  • Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development carried out a working visit on 17 and 18 December 2016 to Port-au-Prince and Jérémie.
  • Mr Jean-Marie Le Guen, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie carried out a working visit from 6 to 8 February 2017. He attended the investiture ceremony of the President-Elect, Jovenel Moise.
  • Mr Laurent Lamothe, Haitian Prime Minister, met with the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Minister for Overseas France, Victorin Lurel and the Minister Delegate for School Education, Ms Georges Pau-Langevin (13 September 2013);
  • Ms Stéphanie Villedrouin, Minister for Tourism, met with Ms Sylvia Pinel, Minister for Small-Scale Businesses, Trade and Tourism (24 September 2013).

Economic relations

Trade between France and Haiti is very limited, with trade volumes oscilating between €35 million and €50 million per year. France always has a trade surplus. French exports are steadily increasing and reached €44 million in 2015.

Mechanical, electrical and computer equipment account for 42.5% of French exports to Haiti. Agrifood products represent 22% of our exports. Lastly, automobiles account for 6.5% of the total.

For ten years, exports of Hiatian products to France have represented between €6 million and €9 million annually. In 2015, they totalled €12.5 million of which three-quarters was comprised of essential oils, mainly vetiver oil.

While only three French groups were actively represented in Haiti (Total, Air France and CMA-CGM) before the earthquake, some twenty French companies have restarted the stream of business between our two countries.

These French-capital companies, often of a smaller size, are active in the services sector (especially commerce, publicity and hospitality) and the construction sector (large and second structures, modular constructions, materials provision). In the last few years, several SMEs have also won contracts with international donors, including the bridge building company, Matière, which was selected by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in 2008, to build the Montrouis bridge, destroyed by the hurricanes but rebuild in record time.

Lastly, France successfully bid to release EU aid which reached over €304 million before the earthquake under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF 2008-2013) to which France is the leading contributor providing 19.55%. The 11th EDF (2014-2020) allocated €420 million in aid to Haiti.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France’s work in Haiti is based on projects led by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, local government bodies and public and parapublic bodies.

France’s work also takes place within European and multilateral frameworks. The EU has mobilized over €1.2 billion to reconstruct Haiti after the earthquake (2010-2015), then €420 million under the 11th EDF.

France now works under the framework of the joint declaration signed by Haitian President Martelly and the French President, during his official visit to Port-au-Prince on 12 May 2015. The aim of this roadmap, funded by France for a total of €50 million over five years, is to implement an “Education” plan, in a continuum bringing together educational cooperation (teacher training, professional training, under the AFD), boosting bilingualism via a Priority Solidarity Fund Project and university, scientific and research cooperation, with emphasis on access and usage of new technologies. It will be able to rely on the work of the 5 Alliance Française branches in the country, the Institut Français of Haiti - whose relocation and reconstruction were announced by the French President during his visit on 12 May 2015 - and the Lycée Alexandre Dumas, which teaches 700 students.

Other cooperation

In the field of police and military cooperation, in addition to participating in the MINUSTAH, France is providing long-term support for the professionalization of the Criminal Police. Attention is now focused on fighting organized crime, with a regional approach and programmes extended to all of the Greater Antilles.

French food aid is now entirely concentrated on local purchasing, which aims to boost the production capacities of Haitian farmers, and is then attributed to the national school cantines programme. French food aid to Haiti has totalled over €15 million over the last 10 years (€1.5 million in 2017).

Decentralized cooperation currently relies on 46 local French government bodies and is focused on training elected representatives, municipal management, local planning and restarting economic activity. This work is coordinated by the Cités Unies France (CUF) which works to ensure local government plays an enhanced role in the reconstruction. With the support of local government associations such as the Association of French Mayors (AMF) and the Assembly of French Departments (ADF), 1,429 communes, 16 departments and one region contributed to the €2 million Support Fund implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, allocated mainly to projects by NGOs present in Haiti and the fight against cholera.

Regional cooperation with the French territories in the Americas benefit from open funding from the Regional Cooperation Fund (FCR) for the Antilles-Guyana zone. These cooperations are in the following fields: education (cooperation between the Université Antilles-Guyane and the Ecole normale supérieure in Port-au Prince); health (training Haitian doctors in Guadeloupe, support for the Port-au-Prince school for nursing and midwifery, etc.); justice and security (fighting narcotics trafficking, financial authorities and youth officers) and culture.

Updated: 30.08.17

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