Haiti-based WIN Group and Soros Economic Development Fund Announce a $45 Million Commercial Zone in Haiti

Dépèche transmise le 6 octobre 2009 par Business Wire

Haiti-based WIN Group and Soros Economic Development Fund Announce a $45 Million Commercial Zone in Haiti

Haiti-based WIN Group and Soros Economic Development Fund Announce a $45 Million Commercial Zone in Haiti

CITÉ SOLEIL, Haiti--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Shortly after a momentous visit by former United States President Bill Clinton, the Haiti-based conglomerate WIN Group and the Soros Economic Development Fund today announced plans to develop a $45 million industrial park to jumpstart industry.

Clinton, the special United Nations envoy to Haiti, was in the country for an investors’ conference to promote economic growth and commended the collaborative effort between the two renowned organizations.

The industrial park, called the West Indies Free Zone, will include more than 1.2 million square feet of turn-key rentable space. It will target local and international manufacturers as well as warehousing businesses and offer tax, customs and processing advantages to tenants.

The project is located near Cité Soleil, one of the poorest communities in Haiti, and expects to create 25,000 jobs and improve the standard of living for the 300,000 residents.

"We are beyond proud to have had President Clinton visit what we view as a transformative project in Haiti, and a key element of the country’s ultimate economic revitalization,” said Youri Mevs, managing partner of WIN Group. "While humanitarian aid is crucial to Haiti, we must build an infrastructure that lays the foundation for ongoing, sustainable economic growth. In the long term, job creation is the first step to improving people’s quality of life.”

Executives from the West Indies Free Zone are already in preliminary discussions with North American and European apparel manufacturers, among other industries.

Initially, West Indies Free Zone will target companies in the light assembly manufacturing that would benefit from the project’s proximity to numerous key markets within the Americas.

“We are committed to supporting Haiti’s economic growth,” said Stewart J. Paperin, president of the Soros Economic Development Fund. “This project will create thousands of jobs and attract the types of businesses crucial to helping Haiti expand its economic capabilities.”

The investment from the Soros Economic Development Fund is a symbolic step by the international community to commit capital to Haiti and demonstrate the feasibility of developing and leasing space within a newly developed industrial park.

Located on a 60-acre parcel, the West Indies Free Zone is expected to be completed by late 2012. The project’s initial phase of construction is scheduled for the Fall of 2010. The industrial park will be a perfect complement to the area’s existing facilities, as it will be located directly adjacent to Cité Soleil's port, and will benefit from reliable, nearby sources of energy and water.

“Everyone involved with WIN Group applauds our government’s vision in helping to capitalize on this unique opportunity,” added Mevs. “It is truly a special day for us, and most importantly, for the future of our people.”

About WIN Group

The Haiti-based, Mevs family-held WIN Group is one of the Caribbean’s largest conglomerates with stakes in diverse industries such as warehousing and storage, port operations and ethanol processing. WIN’s holdings include SHODECOSA, the largest privately-owned industrial and commercial park in Haiti, Varreux Terminal, the largest privately-owned general cargo shipping terminal, WINECO, the largest liquid bulk storage facility and now, the under-construction West Indies Free Zone, a $45 million, 1.2 million square feet manufacturing park in northern Port-au-Prince, among other enterprises. The fourth generation family has always had a significant impact on the country through its social service-based endeavors, and actively supports numerous organizations providing both immediate relief, and long-term infrastructure development. For additional information, visit www.wingrouponline.com.

About Soros Economic Development Fund

The Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF) is a nonprofit private foundation. It is part of the network of charitable foundations created by investor and philanthropist George Soros. Established in 1997, the fund’s mission is to alleviate poverty and community deterioration. The fund makes investments—in the form of equity, loans, guarantees and deposits—in selected banks, microfinance institutions, cooperatives and social enterprise projects worldwide. To learn more about Soros Economic Development Fund, please visit http://www.sedfny.org.

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