Top priorities for Haiti's development


Bjorn Lomborg

The top priorities for Haiti

We just held the Haiti Priorise Eminent Panel conference to find the most effective policies for Haiti. The panel prioritized 85 interventions, presented in 45 research papers following the Copenhagen Consensus methodology, by 50 economists from Haïti and abroad, and peer-reviewed by more academics and sector experts. 

The Eminent Panel of three renowned Haitian economists and a US Nobel Laureate economist considered all 85 proposals, and interviewed the research authors in Port-au-Prince. After deliberating they announced a prioritized list of investments that will improve the nation’s social, economic and environmental wellbeing. Here are the top three:

Presenting the findings to the President

Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith and Bjorn Lomborg shared the Eminent Panel's findings with the President of Haiti in a private meeting at the National Palace. President Jovenel Moïse welcomed the findings and was especially enthused by the panel's top priority of reforming the electricity utility, Electricité d’Haïti, which requires an annual subsidy of $200 million or one-tenth of Haiti’s entire budget.
Afterwards, at a meeting with top policy-makers, Bjorn Lomborg officially presented the results to the President, the Prime Minister, the Senate President, the Finance Minister, the Commerce Minister, the Planning Minister, top public servants, as well as donor organizations and others.

Ketleen Florestal, the President of the Parliamentary Commission on Finance, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, Bjorn Lomborg, Nobel laureate Vernon Smith, President Jovenel Moïse, Martine Moïse, Candace Smith, and Senate President Youri Latortue.

Engaging the Haitian public on top priorities

Over recent months, youths across all 10 departments of Haiti have made their own priorities. One representative from each department came to Port-au-Prince to present their top development priorities for Haiti.
The Eminent Panel's findings were presented to the public at a press conference hosted by the Minister of Planning, Aviol Fleurant. The ministry will be taking the lead to help build on the research findings and advance the top priorities.

Bjorn Lomborg and the Minister of Planning, Aviol Fleurant

A large number of local media outlets covered the event, e.g. Haiti Libre, and Bjorn Lomborg introduced the project to international audiences in Boston Globe prior to traveling to Port-au-Prince. Below you can see some of the most recent local coverage of the research.

The low cost of ending poverty

For the first time ever, an end to poverty is within humanity’s financial reach. If we set aside the money now in a fund, we would need a little less than $1 trillion to eradicate human poverty forever. A trillion dollars sounds like a huge deal, but it is equivalent to roughly 1 percent of annual global GDP, 18 months of US military spending, or one-twentieth of US national debt.

Read Bjorn Lomborg's column for Project Syndicate in five languages. It was published by newspapers around the world, including Arab News (Saudi Arabia), New Vision (Uganda), Shanghai Daily (China) and El Diario (Spain).

The lethal renewable energy swindle

In rich nations we have the bizarre notion that burning biomass is ‘green’ and eco-friendly, with governments deliberately promoting and subsidizing it. But biomass is a terrible short-term answer to global warming. Lomborg explains in Britain's Spectator magazine that by incentivizing its use, policy-makers are having a dubious effect on climate change, likely destroying biodiversity, and killing tens of thousands from air pollution.

Admitting what we don't know how to fix

When it comes to development spending and philanthropy, it is too easy to waste money and miss opportunities by ignoring an important distinction: agreeing that a problem exists is not the same as knowing how to fix it. In China's largest-selling English language newspaper China Daily, Lomborg argues that we need to make some tough choices, including rolling back spending on some things that don't work, investigating potential alternatives, and prioritizing interventions and policies that achieve the most.

The smartest solutions for Haiti

The Copenhagen Consensus Center has released new research papers written by top Haitian and international scholars which explore a vast range of different policy options for the nation.

In Huffington Post, Lomborg writes about the research findings on family planning, electricity transmission, infant immunization, early childhood education, roads, legal aid, civics and skills, agricultural tariffs and subsidies, and agricultural productivity.

His articles were also printed in two of Haiti's biggest newspapers, Le Nouvelliste and Le National (in French). Le Nouvelliste also published an interview.

Interventions BCR
Rice tariff 0.8
Crop insurance 1.9
Fertilizer subsidy 3.7

Interventions BCR
Two-Year Early Childhood Interventions at the Pre-Primary Phase 14
Teaching children at the right level 9
Conditional Cash Transfer for Secondary Level Children 5

Interventions BCR
Civics 5
Gap year of vocational and civics 4
Vocational training 2

Interventions BCR
Route Gonaives to P-d-P 2.3
Bridge over les Anglais     1.5

Intervention BCR
Establishment of a national legal aid system 2.8

Interventions BCR
National Patrol Force 1.6
Flood Early Warning System 7.4
Early Warning System and Shelters 4.2

Intervention BCR
Access to contraception 18

Interventions BCR
Calcium and micronutrients to pregnant women 10
Wheat flour fortification with iron and folic acid 24
Micronutrient powders to children 6-24 months of age 8
Treat wasting with standard formula RUTF 9.2
Treat wasting with local formula RUTF 9.6

Interventions BCR
Shelter 14
Prevention of Dating Violence 1
Helpline 12

Interventions BCR
Paternity leave 1.3
Minimum wage increase (with no job loss) 1.2
Minimum wage increase (with a 5.57% job loss) 1.1

Interventions BCR
Raising public sector salaries 1
Performance-based pay program 3.5
Digitize land records 2.6
Computerization at Cap-Haïtien Port 7.1
Local content procurement 2.2

More global articles and interviews:

Data pooling: A new way to improve society?
The Indian Economist

Growth returns to Caribbean Basin, but recovery is uneven
Miami Herald

Parisavtalet är bara en tandlös papperstiger
Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)

Trump und das Klima
Die Welt (Germany)

Von Bill Gates lernen
Bayernkurier (Germany)

Trump laat zien dat klimaatakkoord Parijs tandeloos is
Het Financieele Dagblad (Netherlands)

Trump y los Acuerdos de París
El Pais (Uruguay)

How to save 16,000 children’s lives

Early Childhood Education: an Investment in Haiti’s Future

Risk of dying from air pollution is declining

How to scare by showing just part of reality

About Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus 

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg researches the smartest ways to improve the environment and the world, and has repeatedly been named one of Foreign Policy’s top 100 public intellectuals.

He is the author of several best-selling books, an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School and works regularly with many of the world’s top economists, including seven Nobel Laureates.

His think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, was ranked by the University of Pennsylvania as one of the world’s "Top 25 Environmental Think Tanks".

Lomborg is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media, for outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, CNN, FOX, and the BBC. His monthly column is published in 19 languages, in 30+ newspapers with more than 30 million readers globally.
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Best wishes,
David Lessmann
Communications Manager
Copenhagen Consensus Center
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