The Business and Technology Landscape in the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti are complex. While the two countries share an island, the long history and differences in cultures have produced a complicated relationship. Politics aside, the Dominican Republic and Haiti both have made subtle strides in the world of technology. Here are facts on the two country’s business, technology, and entrepreneurial landscapes.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic not only has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America, but the country also has one of the fastest growing economies with a GDP growth rate averaging 5.4% each year. The DR is vulnerable to natural disasters, which makes it a difficult place to live. But the DR has easy cross-border trade agreements, and the government seems set on implementing reforms to comply with many of the World Bank’s Doing Business report’s findings. Here are facts about the technology landscape in the Dominican Republic.

1. The Dominican Association of Fintech Companies is growing fintech in the country

Called ADOFINTECH, this organization seeks to bring together individuals and organizations in the fintech sector across the Dominican Republic. The group wants to research and find solutions that can bring greater financial inclusion in the country.

2.  República Digital will revolutionize the use of technology

The government initiative República Digital is a holistic, revolutionary approach to bringing more technology into all aspects of life in the DR. The projects focus on education, access, job growth, and a digital transformation. On top of this announcement, the three largest telecom companies (Claro, Orange, and Viva) each announced infrastructure investment in the country, totally more than US$355 million.

3. Strong entrepreneurial attitudes 

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s report on the Dominican Republic, the country views entrepreneurship favorably. The DR ranked higher than the global average for things like perceived opportunities, perceived capabilities, and entrepreneurial intentions. The country ranked lower than average in the fear of failure rate and higher in early-stage entrepreneurial activity.

4. Technology schools train future leaders

The DR is home to major technology institutions that graduate trained IT leaders. Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo and Instituto Tecnológico de las Américas are two technology-based institutes that train Dominicans for careers in the field.

5. Startups have programs and resources in the DR

StartLab provides programs, including bootcamps, for entrepreneurs with an idea they want to get off the ground. Atarazana Labs invests and works with companies in the DR. Per their website, they seek “early stage start-ups looking for funding in the US$10,000 - $250,000 range and entrepreneurs who are open to guidance and a true partnership.”

6. It’s not easy to start a business in the DR, but it’s getting better

According to the World Bank’s report, it’s not particularly easy to start a business in the country. It is worth noting that the government improved, and seemingly continues to improve, the process. Last year, the DR government streamlined the process of registering a business, cutting down the time and improved the reliability of electricity by investing in grid expansion. While it’s still difficult to actually get a business up and running, it’s a good sign that improvements are happening.

Haiti

Haiti is the second most populous country in the Caribbean, sharing its border with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is a developing country, faced with poverty, natural disasters, corruption, lack of proper infrastructure, and a subpar education system. The country has a thriving tourism industry, and a very young population - half of Haitians are under the age of 20. Here are a few facts about the technology and entrepreneurial landscape in Haiti.

1. The IDRC is upskilling Haitians for a digital world

The International Development Research Center (IDRC) is providing US$800,000 over three years to perform research on the types of jobs that could exist for young Haitians. In this new digital economy, job opportunities in technology will continue to grow. The IDRC project focuses on providing young Haitians with the proper conditions to prosper and find employment in the digital economy.

2. Haiti is set to launch a state-of-the-art incubator for the region

The President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, announced last year the launch of Alpha Haiti, a full-scale incubator with multilingual offerings. The incubator would provide entrepreneurs with the workspaces, reliable electricity, high-speed Internet, specialized training, and mentorship needed to help build startups. However, the website has not been updated to reflect a start date, and no information on the incubator can be found in the six months.

3. Haiti holds an annual tech summit

Haiti Tech Summit recently announced speakers for the 3rd Annual Summit called, The 4th Industrial Revolution – Accelerating Haiti into the Digital Age. Thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, and creatives attend the event to discuss technology and entrepreneurship. This event is part of a 13-year initiative to turn Haiti into an international tech hub by 2030.

4. It is incredibly difficult to start a business in Haiti

There are startups and entrepreneurs in Haiti fighting to make a change. However, actually starting a business in the country is near-impossible. According to the Doing Business report, Haiti ranks 182/190 in ease of doing business. While entrepreneurs want to create solutions to real problems in the country, actually going about starting a legal business in Haiti makes it really difficult to do so.

For more information on technology in Latin America, download our eBook.