I’ve just finished a story about New York area businesses that are trying to get a slice of the $10 billion reconstruction pie. I plan to continue reporting in the vein of profit and business, particularly those firms that are creating employment in Haiti. I figure there’re enough reporters covering aid as charity, how it works and then blaming the usual suspects when it doesn’t. That’s a valuable frame but there’re so many other ways to frame how development goes down in Haiti. I’m open to other ideas so, holler.
Unfortunately, my story’s behind a pay wall so I’ll reproduce a bit here:
[Jean] Petrus belongs to a small coterie of New York-area businesses, most owned by Haitian-Americans, pushed by a slow recovery at home and pulled by both patriotism and profit to help reconstruct Haiti.
[According to the Associated Press] more than 105,000 homes need to be rebuilt, along with 1,300 schools, 50 hospitals, the presidential palace, parliament and courts, not to mention debris removal and technology and infrastructure development.
These Haitian-American owners are new to the world of federal procurement, however. Since January 12th, other American firms with extensive international experience in disaster clean-up and construction—many with lessons learned from post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction—have been setting up offices, camps and mess halls for an anticipated workforce in Port-au-Prince.
It remains to be seen whether and how effectively Haitian-American firms can compete for the more than $1 billion in aid pledged by the United States over the next decade.