Episode Fifty-Seven

Fueling Economic Innovation in Haiti with Karl Jean-Louis

To improve the social and political contexts in Haiti, it is crucial for civil society, the business community and the population to all play their role in governance. In the right political environment, the business community can create jobs and add value to society. This is needed in Haiti now more than ever.

In this episode of The Get InPowered Podcast, Judithe is joined again by Karl Jean Louis, founder of Sa se Biznis Pam. A strategic innovator with more than two decades of experience delivering complex development programs in countries experiencing transitional and post-crisis stages, such as Haiti, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, and Uganda, Karl works at the intersection of the public sector, private sector, and civil society.

From 2011 to 2014, in the Martelly administration, Karl was appointed as the first Executive Director of the Presidential Public Policy Unit and later Executive Director of the Council for Economic Growth and Investment, General Director of the Center for the Facilitation of Investments, and Chief of Staff of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

Currently, Karl is building a platform to amplify the stories of Haitian business innovators with the aim of influencing the political system and improving Haiti’s socio-economic outlook. The recent fuel crisis in Haiti was a wake-up call for the nation’s small business community and civil society to work together. As Karl notes,

“We have a fragile state, and this requires the business community and civil society to play their role and take responsibility. This means being vocal and addressing key major issues in terms of governance, playing a constructive role. What we have is a failure of the government, a failure of civil society, a failure of the state.”

In this conversation, you will hear how Haitian leaders like Karl are working to shift humanitarian aid services’ perception of Haiti in order to prioritize the creation of economic opportunity for growth and political stability. Haitian entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders are ready and actively playing their role to transform Haiti for a progressive future. Shifting Haiti’s long-term political economic condition is not something the aid community can achieve without the primary involvement of the Haitian community. This is where Sa se Biznis Pam comes in. Sa se Biznis Pam is the only network in Haiti bringing business owners from across the country to share insights on how society can transform Haiti’s economic outlook. The mandate of this network can potentially shift the paradigm to fundamentally change social economic conditions through incremental and scalable reform.

As the lead innovator, collaborator and convener of Sa Se Bisnis Pam, Karl is working to leverage the influence and insight of the private sector and civil society in order to increase government accountability and propel Haiti forward.

In this episode, we will hear about the Network’s 4-point Strategic Vision:

  1. Engage and inform the Haitian population about the network’s existence and role;
  2. Work with the Ministries of Commerce and Finance to increase the efficiency of their role in supporting and responding to the reform policies in place, with the aim of increasing economic growth and working with the business community accordingly;
  3.  Invest in social programs to address the needs of the population and decrease the levels of poverty and inequality in Haiti with a focus on women and youth;
  4.  Provide technical assistance to network members in supporting the growth and development of their business, and improve their capacity to grow.

“If we do not step back to assess how volatile this environment is and step up as business leaders, then we are doomed to remain in this chronic state of political and economic instability for [perpetuity].”

Join us as we continue to explore with Karl and the network of Sa Se Biznis Pam, the activities of those leading in Haiti as well as the role of diaspora in advancing Haiti’s development outlook.

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