When Wyclef Jean went to Haiti recently, he was accompanied by a pool of buttoned-down business types, including Canadian entrepreneur Belinda Stronach and other potential foreign investors.
The Haitian-born Jean, who rose to fame with the Fugees hip-hop group and became a homeland hero with his efforts to bring education and peace to the impoverished Caribbean nation, has set his sights on serious economic change.
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The Grammy-winning musician said the poorest country in the Americas, roiled by food riots in April, needs foreign investment and help with sustainable development but not charity that could cause Haiti to become even more dependent.
Jean, 35, said the most important contribution the international community could make to Haiti is to invest in agriculture, road projects and economic infrastructure.
Jean has called for an end to the kidnappings-for-ransom that have plagued Haiti in recent years and urged Haitians and foreign partners to create a safer environment for investment.