Atlanta businesses should consider investing in a growing tourism and housing industry in Haiti, according to Randolph Voyard, president of Banque HaÔtienne de Developpement who was here for a conference on trade in the Caribbean Dec. 3. The conference was sponsored by Fulton County and the Southern Center for International Studies.

      Haiti, considered one of the poorest nations in the world, has been investing more in tourism while simultaneously improving the standard of living for its residents, Mr. Voyard told GlobalFax in an interview.

Three years ago Haitian banks with foreign investment began financing the construction of family homes under the condition that one room be rented to tourists. Now there are 1,300 of these “co-ops,” as Mr. Voyard calls them.

      “They have been a tremendous success,” he said, “No one believed that the co-ops could foster this.”

Mr. Voyard’s bank has financed 70 such co-ops with the investments of French banks and businesses in Oklahoma and New York. The country wants to step up construction of the homes, he said, and he wants Atlanta businesses to invest in co-ops through his bank.

Haiti also would like to bring into the country businesses it needs to prosper. Such businesses would provide construction materials, equipment, transportation, energy and financial services, he said.

Mr. Voyard is in contact with the Association for Haitian American Development, Inc. in Atlanta. They may be reached at (404) 355-6426. He may be reached directly at 2-509-244-3737.