June 23, 2024

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Challenges of re-elected Dominican President Luis Abinader – Exclusive |  Publications

Challenges of re-elected Dominican President Luis Abinader – Exclusive | Publications

Written by Mariela Pérez Valenzuela

Chief correspondent in the Dominican Republic

Abi Nader, 56 years old, belongs to the Modern Revolutionary Party, comes from a wealthy family of Lebanese origin, and is an economist – he earned several degrees in the United States and has experience in business, including his family’s companies.

It is estimated that the economic issue will be key on the president’s agenda. A report issued by the Inter-American Development Bank, published last March, indicated that about one percent of the largest local wealth owners control about 42 percent of the country’s total wealth.

About 11 million people live in Quiskia, an indigenous name that originates from this country that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. High immigration shows that the economic situation has pushed a large number of the population to other countries.

Although the Dominican Republic has witnessed significant economic growth in recent years, Abinader will, as he put it, try to launch new foreign investments that will enhance more job opportunities, without forgetting that he made the fight against corruption one of his promises when he took office in 2020. In light of the scourge of the pandemic. Covid 19.

Official data indicate that in 2023 tourism contributed $10 billion to GDP.

Remittances sent from abroad amounted to nearly $11 billion, an increase of 3.1 percent compared to the previous year, and foreign direct investment hit a record high of 4.3 billion greenbacks, specifically earmarked for hotel construction.

However, despite these high rates, job creation in recent years has not met expectations, and the unemployment rate reached 5.0% in the last quarter of 2023, while half of the economically active population was moving in the informal sector, in many cases In risky situations.

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In the past four years, poverty affected nearly a quarter of the population, and extreme poverty affected three percent.

The information provided by the Abinader administration acknowledges that the majority of low-income groups reside in urban areas, and that 63 percent of them are governed by women.

Abinader is indebted to the local women’s bloc and will have to strive to achieve gender equality that does not exist now.

The unfair situation suffered by Dominican women was expressed in the recent elections, where among the nine candidates for the National Palace there were only two women; This is a situation similar to what happened to candidates in the municipal elections last February, especially in senior positions.

Analysts believe that the social policies implemented in the past four years were only a palliative for the bloody social scenario in which a large part of the population lives. Therefore, the president must solve the structural problems of the service economy.

For experts, global value chains assign the Dominican Republic the role of operating as a technology company supported by the multiple existing free zones, private, governmental and mixed, established on its territory since 1985.

In addition, it must be taken into account that this part of the island is one of the main tourist destinations in the region, as it will receive more than 10 million visitors in 2023; At the same time there is a mineral basin and a small manufacturing industry.

PRM has shown particular interest in information and communications technology (ICT) and the tools and computer programs used to create new models in this regard in various sectors.

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At the beginning of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics registered 2,187 companies operating in the field of information and communications technology, employing, according to the source, 33,000 people, with a two-to-one ratio between men and women.

Another important data provided by the government is that income from exports of manufactured products reached just over $1.5 billion in total in 2023. Of this figure, mining production without value added from the source constitutes 50.18%, and the industrial sector 48.04. %, and the rest is agricultural production.

Immigration will be one of the recurring themes of Abi Nader’s second term. This sensitive issue mainly focuses on the controversial historical relationship with its neighbor Haiti.

In response to the decision of Haitian farmers to encourage the construction of an irrigation canal on the Massacre River (Dajabon in the Dominican Republic), the governor decided to close the common border and reinforce the military presence, with a decline in bilateral trade deemed necessary by both parties. .

In his latest statements, given the imminent arrival of a multinational force in Haiti to try to neutralize paramilitary groups, the president stressed that his country would not integrate any foreign team and would only provide humanitarian aid, if necessary.

Analysts believe that his position regarding the crisis in neighboring Haiti in defense of national sovereignty, by promoting the construction of a border fence, rejecting the arrival of refugees and increasing deportations of Haitians and citizens in an irregular situation, was widely appreciated.

Last year, nearly 200,000 Haitians were deported from this country.

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However, according to the official position, sectors of the Dominican economy such as agriculture and construction depend on Haiti, due to bilateral trade relations and the use of migrant labor at very low costs. A latent and important contradiction for the new administration.

Political observers consider that Abi Nader’s plans until 2028 are diverse and tend, at least in his speeches, to improving the quality of life of the poor, with special attention to education, health care, housing, and other branches of the national superstructure.

In his second term, he faces challenges such as inflation and insecurity of citizens, one of the greatest fears of Dominicans, and proposes to reform the constitution to strengthen institutions such as the Public Ministry.

But practice is richer than theory. You have to look at the domestic and international conditions in which this businessman, who fully entered politics in 2012 and after eight years is already wearing the presidential sash, will operate.