Haiti Prime Minister makes Africa visit



Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe arrived Wednesday in the Ivory Coast where he says he plans to lobby for his nation’s integration into the African Union, and sign technical agreement for help with Cacao production, he said.

Lamothe’s visit to the West African nation comes on the heels of visits this month to Aruba and the Turks and Caicos Islands. He left Haiti Tuesday, a day after President Michel Martelly, who is serving a six-month chairmanship of the Caribbean Community, returned after visiting Miami, Guyana and Suriname.

Lamothe said his Africa visit is part of his government’s push to build partnerships with other countries. One such, with Vietnam, is already allowing Haiti to receive 15,000 tons of rice a month at a 40 percent discount.

That discount, Lamothe said in an interview, is being passed “along to the population.”

“The Vietnam Cooperation assistance is panning out to be very good for Haiti,” he said, adding that representatives of Vietnam’s Vinafood plan to visit Haiti next week to explore “investing in rice fields in Haiti.”

Lamothe’s schedule calls for meetings with the president, prime minister and members of the country’s private sector. The visit is expected to end on Friday.

As Lamothe arrived in the Ivory Coast, the heads of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — known as the BRICS group — and leaders of 15 African countries were concluding a summit in Durban, South Africa. Among the issues the leaders of the world’s five emerging economies agreed to at their fifth summit, was the creation of a development bank to help fund a $4.5 trillion infrastructure plan in their nations.

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