Haiti, IDB agree on actions to speed up projects

At a meeting with President Martelly, Prime Minister Lamothe and cabinet ministers

The government of Haiti and the Inter-American Development Bank have agreed on a series of plans of action to accelerate the execution of projects in six key sectors: agriculture, education, energy, transport, water and sanitation and private sector development.

The agreements were reached on Tuesday in Port-au-Prince during a meeting that brought together members of the cabinet of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and top executives of the IDB. Haitian President Michel Martelly and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno addressed the participants at the closing of the event.

As Haiti’s leading multilateral donor, the IDB is financing projects totaling nearly $1.4 billion, including $280 million in co-financing from other donors. These operations are in line with the Haitian government’s top priorities such as expanding access to education and energy, boosting employment and protecting the environment.

Prior to this week’s meeting, IDB executives and specialists had held a three-day portfolio review exercise with officials from Haitian ministries and other government agencies in charge of project execution. During those discussions participants assessed the rate of progress of every operation and results achieved so far. They also identified bottlenecks and proposed solutions to overcome them.

The plans of action will entail strengthening the government’s capacity to plan, execute and supervise projects and to operate and maintain public services, as in the case of utilities in mid-size cities where Haiti’s water and sanitation regulating agency, DINEPA, is making investments to expand and improve drinking water distribution.

Actions will also entail giving priority to addressing specific problems. In the energy sector, for example, over the coming months the Haitian government and the IDB will prioritize the construction of a new substation and the upgrading of distribution networks in Port-au-Prince, as well as the deployment of a resource management system to help improve the operations of the electricity utility, EDH.

Since the 2010 earthquake the IDB has approved $546 million in new grants for Haiti and disbursed more than $407 million. The Bank is committed to provide the country $200 million in new grants annually through 2020 and is taking measures to enable its government to absorb more than $200 million a year in disbursements.

During the meeting Haitian authorities recognized the IDB for its efforts to reach out to other donors and leverage its resources. In turn, IDB officials encouraged the Haitian government to continue developing strategic public investment plans to attract additional funding for priority sectors.

The IDB also reiterated its commitment to support projects that will help Haiti catalyze private sector investment, generate jobs and promote economic activity beyond the capital, such as the Caracol Industrial Park in the northern region of the country.