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Pennsylvania companies gained insight into medium- and long-term plans for rebuilding efforts in Haiti and learned how they can engage in the process today at a Haiti Reconstruction Forum in Philadelphia . Rick Wade, senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and head of the Commerce Department’s Haiti business outreach, delivered the conference’s opening and closing remarks.
· “Addressing Haiti ’s tragedy has been a clear priority for the Obama administration and significant resources have been devoted to help the victims of the earthquake,” Wade said. “Many U.S. and international firms will play a crucial role in Haiti ’s recovery by providing the type of investment and technical training that Haiti needs to ensure its long-term development.”
Hosted by the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, the event connected public sector experts in procurement, trade and financing with Pennsylvania companies offering expertise in critical areas such as power and energy, transportation and port construction, housing, health care, machinery and apparel joint ventures.
Wade was joined at the forum by U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell. Speakers included representatives from Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
This was the fourth in a series of events that support the goals of the Haitian Government’s Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti. The next planned event is a two-day conference, titled “Building a New Haiti: Commerce, Business and Investment,” June 10-11, in Port-au-Prince .
January’s earthquake, which resulted in more than 230,000 lives lost, ranked among the 10 worst natural disasters in recorded history, and the worst in the Western Hemisphere . The Inter-American Development Bank estimates reconstruction costs following the devastating earthquake will range between $8 billion and $14 billion.
The Haitian Government’s action plan can be viewed at: http://www.haiticonference.org/Haiti_Action_Plan_ENG.pdf