The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $4 million to help The Wilbes Haitian S.A., owned by South-Korea based The Wilbes & Co., Ltd, expand its apparel manufacturing capacity, in efforts to support Haiti’s garment sector.
This investment will also help create 1,000 new jobs in Port au Prince, the country’s capital, by the end of 2016.
IFC is mobilizing a $4 million parallel loan from the Inter-American Development Bank, as well.
“We are pleased to partner with IFC today to create opportunities for Willbes’ expansion and for Haiti’s garment sector to prosper,” said Byung-Hyun Jun, president and CEO of The Willbes & Co., Ltd. “Haiti can become one of the more competitive producers of ready-made garments, and we stand ready to be part of that growth.”
The financing will help The Willbes Haitian S.A. add new production lines and strengthen its financial position.
“IFC is committed to supporting Haiti’s private sector through companies like Willbes that create jobs and opportunities for people to improve their lives,” said Luc Grillet, IFC senior manager for Central America and the Caribbean. “This investment is part of our strategy of enabling growth in a priority sector, in turn generating employment and export earnings for the Haitian economy.”
IFC’s portfolio in Haiti now totals $122 million, which includes $24 million mobilized from other partners.
According to IFC, in recent years garment exports have represented about 90 percent of Haiti’s total exports.
The recently passed trade preferences program extended the country’s Haiti Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) and the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP), adding long-term certainty for potential investors.