Nation building - Macleans.ca

Nation building

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Freshly returned from Africa, Glen Pearson writes of Haiti.

Haiti presently suffers from uncontrolled migration, deep poverty, hunger, high violence, drug trafficking and the troubling reality of environmental degradation. In other words, its future hangs in a precarious balance. Businesses and corporations are always reticent to invest in infrastructure, yet that is what Haiti requires now more than anything – a functional education system, adequate health facilities, effective courts, earthquake-proof structures, accountable government, etc. Until such things are in place, investment will merely be the playground of the elites.

The truth is, Haiti is where much of Africa was two decades ago. Only now are we beginning to comprehend that the secret to Africa’s recent success hasn’t so much been corporate investment but effective development measures over the long haul. Build the roads, the ports, the hospitals, sanitation systems, schools, universities, women’s literacy, courts, etc. and the rest will naturally follow: businesses benefit from such staples and will add to them. But more importantly, Haitians are bettered by such investment. Unless such development measures are resourced adequately, the people of Haiti will never own anything, but be pawns in a world of the elites, much as Cuba was 70 years ago.