May 3, 2017
After billions of dollars of foreign investment failed to return promising development prospects in Haiti, the Canadian government began to examine different ways of making money spent achieve more. Canada funded a project led by prominent think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, to identify and prioritize development opportunities in Haiti.
“Like every nation, Haiti has limited resources. Prioritization is needed. Understanding the costs and benefits of different policies and proposals can help decision-makers to focus on the most effective investments” – Bjørn Lomborg, Director of Copenhagen Consensus Center
The project, called Haïti Priorise, commissioned 45 research papers from economists from Haiti and abroad. A panel of Haitian economists and a U.S. Nobel laureate then reviewed all 85 proposals. The panel issued a prioritized list which they presented to Haitian President, Jovenel Moïse. Limestone Analytics is excited to announce that our proposal, “Cost Benefit Analysis of Power Sector Reform in Haiti”, was ranked as the top priority by the esteemed panel.
The focus of our proposal was a two-phase reform of the nation’s energy provider, Electricité d’Haïti (EDH). Expensive and unreliable electricity is a significant barrier to Haiti’s sustained development. Drawing lessons from energy reforms in Afghanistan and our own experiences working with the electricity sector in Haiti, our research suggests that changing the institutional and regulatory framework, corporatizing and reforming the provider, and establishing cost-reflective tariffs would significantly improve Haiti’s economic prospects. While the cost of this proposal is $45-million, benefits exceed $978-million. In other words, each dollar spent would generate $22 of social benefits. The project can also eliminate the need for $200 million in annual subsidies – money that can be invested elsewhere to boost prosperity and health. President Moïse acknowledged that there will be no development in Haiti without energy reform.
“Prioritizing problems, and then focusing on the most effective solutions, is a narrative that would benefit every country” – Bjørn Lomborg, Director of Copenhagen Consensus Center
Limestone Analytics’ Juan Belt, Bahman Kashi, Nicholas Allien, and Jay Mackinnon presented the proposal. The panel was comprised of Ketleen Florestal (advisor to the Executive Directors of Haiti at the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund), Philome Joseph Raymond Magloire (former governor of the Central Bank), Kesner Pharel (renowned Haitian economist and economics commentator), and Vernon Smith (Nobel laureate economist).
Read the final edition of the paper here: https://www.naruc.org/about-naruc/press-releases/icer-honors-recipients-of-2018-distinguished-scholar-awards/
The original proposal here (rough draft): http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/publication/haiti-priorise-electricity-reform-kashi-belt
For more information about Haiti Priorise: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/Haiti-Priorise
This story was also featured in The Economist: https://www.economist.com/the-americas/2017/06/08/a-possible-future-for-haiti