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Hip hop artist Wyclef Jean spent five days in his native Haiti last week to further his humanitarian efforts in the impoverished Caribbean nation, and used the visit to call for serious economic change.

The 35-year-old rapper – born in the Haitian village of Croix-des-Bouquets – stated that the country needs foreign investment and assistance with sustainable development to help its people beat the poverty and food shortages that are crippling its economy, not just charity and handouts that could cause Haiti to become even more dependent on other nations than it is now.

“I understand that there is a food crisis that needs to be addressed urgently, but at the same time donors need to inject funds in projects likely to bring sustainable results,” Jean told Reuters. “Charity will never solve Haiti’s problems. Haitians want jobs, they want to develop their agriculture to produce food, not to everlastingly receive food assistance. To solve the economic crisis, we need investments and to have investments we need security. To have security we have to start addressing the social problems in the most vulnerable and underprivileged neighborhoods.”

Jean, who was appointed as a roving ambassador for the country by President Rene Preval last year, has been working tirelessly to help Haitians in their day-to-day struggle to survive. He established the Yéle Haiti Foundation in 2005 to make a difference in education, health, environment and community development, and in May he launched an initiative to raise $48 million to expand food distribution and provide assistance to farmers. He has also urged Haitians to cut their high crime rate to make foreign investment more secure.

“Social and economic change will remain a utopian dream if we remain divided,” he said.

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