Jul 29
July 29, 2015

Unlocking Economic Opportunity in Haiti


A job serves many purposes. It helps put food on the table, it enables parents to send their children to school, and it gives an individual the sense of relief and dignity that comes with being able to take care of oneself and one’s family. The opportunity to work and uplift your community shouldn’t be out of reach, but for far too many people around the world, it is.

At the Clinton Foundation, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to live their best life story and we are committed to working with our partners to make this a reality for more people by increasing economic opportunity around the world. One of our main economic development strategies, carried out through the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEPartnership), is to create social enterprises that address market gaps in supply and distribution chains. CGEPartnership applies this strategy in underserved communities in Latin America, India, and the Caribbean, tailoring the enterprise models to meet local market needs and opportunities.

This week, Chelsea Clinton, Donna Shalala, and a delegation are seeing CGEPartnership’s work firsthand in the rural Central Plateau area of Haiti, where poverty is high and access to basic goods and services is limited. In fact, across the countryside, where more than half of Haiti’s population lives, 70% of the people live on less than $2 a day and 89% lack access to energy. Challenges contributing to these dire statistics include highly fragmented producer bases, limited access to markets, and inadequate infrastructure.

To address these realities and help Haitians overcome these barriers, CGEPartnership operates two social enterprises: the Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation, which aims to improve the supply chain of peanuts in Haiti, and Acceso – Chakipi (Chakipi), a last-mile distribution enterprise dedicated to economically empowering low-income women while granting communities access to essential products.

The Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation (Acceso – Haiti) connects with farmers through a network of depots. These depots operate extension services that help farmers increase the quality and quantity of their yields by providing them with credit, seeds, and other supplies, along with training on how best to utilize these inputs. Acceso – Haiti then purchases the peanuts from the farmers at market-competitive prices, tests the harvests to ensure they are Aflatoxin-free and safe for consumption, and re-sells them to buyers and the general market. By removing barriers typically faced by smallholder farmers and reducing inefficiencies throughout the supply chain, this series of interventions is helping farmers double their yield and increase their income by 50%.    

Similarly, CGEPartnership’s Chakipi enterprise provides economic empowerment to low-income communities by addressing market inefficiencies. As mentioned above, individuals living in Haiti's countryside have limited access to basic goods and services. Given the difficult terrain and poor infrastructure, products like fortified foods, personal care products, and solar lamps often don’t reach these populations. And if they do, they are often more expensive and a lower quality. Chakipi helps address this issue by partnering with women’s associations, other NGOs, and local groups to equip women entrepreneurs with the skills and resources they need to sell essential products in their communities. Entrepreneurs are given access to products and trained on product familiarization, sales techniques, customer service, inventory management, and basic financial management. This has the dual benefit of helping to meet the essential needs of Haiti’s countryside communities while also employing and empowering women entrepreneurs. Chakipi in Haiti is a replication of the successful Chakipi distribution enterprise in Peru, where women are expected to at least double their incomes within one year of joining the enterprise.

Acceso - Haiti and Chakipi are just two examples of innovative enterprise models CGEPartnership operates; and these new social enterprises prove that with the right partners and the right investments we can unlock economic opportunity and help more people work themselves out of poverty. This is a testament to our belief that #ActionIsGreater when we work together and invest in human potential.