There are a wide variety of purely economic initiatives under consideration to spur a virtuous cycle of sustainable development in Haiti. Yet given the linkage between economic development and security, it is time to consider new options that will take advantage of the effective security assets in Haiti to support the spread of economic opportunity.
Redeploying the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or the MINUSTAH peacekeeping forces, can help support the development of essential economic sectors. The United Nations should amend the peacekeeping forces’ mandate to provide for security support to economic development in Haiti. MINUSTAH has been instrumental in tamping down rampant criminality and armed violence. They have greatly contributed to the improvement of ambient security in Port-au-Prince and other population centers in the country. But the major security consideration has shifted from the impunity of armed groups to the instability resulting from rampant unemployment, and MINUSTAH’s strategy should shift accordingly.
MINUSTAH should conduct an economic security assessment along with the Government of Haiti to determine where peacekeeping forces might be most strategically deployed to foster economic growth. Immediate places to reconsider force dispositions include the moribund industrial parks in and around Cité Soleil, as well as the ports of Port-au-Prince and Gonaïves. Making those places even safer for commerce might help boost investor confidence and bolster light industry and maritime operations, with salutary residual effects for the economy.
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