Resource Extraction and Development in Haiti: establishing a critical framework for resource exploitation as a national development strategy

Authors: Jean-Yves Merilus*,
Topics: Development, Economic Geography, Latin America
Keywords: Resource extraction, development, power-relation, racialization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Spruce, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Majestic Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


National development based on the exploitation of natural resource, most scholars concur, ends up being a curse rather than a blessing for poor countries. This has been documented across the developing world. Indeed, we know a good deal about the deleterious effects of natural-resource exploitation. However, there is very little, if any, information about the decision-making process and the power relation that produced the legal framework allowing natural resource exploitation by multinational corporations (MNCs). There is almost no first-hand data and analysis of how the rationale and assumptions that informed how resource exploitation decision were constructed. Similarly, we don’t know how mineral development strategies and decisions are shaped by ideas of race, racialization projects, and colonial legacies. My research seeks to addresses this gap. It examines the on-going negotiations to authorize multinational corporations to undertake large-scale mining projects in Haiti.
Currently, the Haitian government, with technical support of the World Bank, is drafting the required mining regulation. How does Haiti construct a contractual agreement with MNCs for the exploitation of its natural resources, which it sees as fundamental for its economic and social development? Additionally, how are the political economic decisions informed by processes of racialization and colonial and imperialist legacies? In order to address these questions, I examine the role of three main actors: the Haitian state, the multinational corporations involved in the process, and the affected communities to better understand the dynamics and determinants of the decision-making process of a development strategy that will significantly affect Haitian society.

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