TVM Sector Perspective
How Sector Activities Impact People, Place, Planet and Profit
Chapter 17 - Manufacturing
The state of manufacturing
Haiti is not known for its modern manufacturing, with the exception of its production and export of crude oil.
There are parts of Haiti that have a history of handcraft ... but this is small scale and artisanal, of historic value but not of great economic value as a driver of modern Haiti.
Jobs ... employment
The manufacturing sector is usually an important area for job creation ... but in Haiti more of the jobs are in the services sector.
Many things need to be brought together in order for manufacturing to be successful: (1) availability of materials; (2) availability of productive low cost labor; (3) a reasonable enabling environment ... that is laws, regulations, culture, etc.; (4) working infrastructure including transport and energy; and, (5) markets and profit potential. Of these it is the markets and profit potential that are missing. Most of the market needs can be satisfied by products from other places at lower cost and more profit than from local manufacturing in Haiti.
My Experience in Madagascar
What might be possible?
For some years I was a consultant to a manufacturing group in Madagascar. I have described this group as one of the best managed companies that I had ever seen, in large part because of their commitment to training their staff. Even though Madagascar had tremendous socio-economic problems, and was faced with terrible foreign exchange shortages, this company still put its staff training as a top priority.
As a result, the company was able to produce world standard quality and was able to participate in the global market on an equal basis with other world class producers.
The company invested in good production equipment, and the staff were able to use this equipment to make the very best quality product at very competitive costs.
But all of this took time.
It is not easy to identify manufacturing that would be profitable in Haiti ... a lot depends on the willingness of an entrepreneur to take on a challenge and go into business in competition with the world.
There might be possibilities in the agro-production area using processing animal products ... processed meats and skins.
There might be possibilities in the petro-chemical area using the feedstocks that are available from the oil and gas sector. This could be very big business and profitable if done in cooperation with organizations that have access or control international markets.