President of the Republic of Haiti H.E. Jovenel Moise speaks onstage during the 2018 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York on September 25, 2018 in New York City. Photo Credit: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Concordia Summit.

Growing up on a rural sugar plantation in Trou du Nord, a commune in northeast Haiti, Jovenel Moïse developed an early interest in agricultural farming and its possibility to transform a country for the better. 

“Since I was a child, I was always wondering why people were living in such conditions while enormous lands were empty,” he was quoted as saying. “I believe agriculture is the key to change for this country.”

An unknown figure in Haiti until former president Michel Martelly hand-picked him in 2015 to represent the Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK) in the 2016 election, Moïse would come to be known nationally as “Neg Bannan-n,” because he owned a 25-acre plantain plantation. Plantains, a cousin of banana plants, are a staple of Haitian cuisine called “bannan-n” in Creole. Thus, the moniker erroneously translated as banana in English.

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Larisa is a reporter for The Haitian Times covering politics, elections and education primarily. A graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, she has interned at CNBC and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. She is also a recipient of a 2021 DBEI Fellowship by Investigative Reporters & Editors. Larisa can be reached by email at or on Twitter @larisakarr.