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IDB pledges $400 million in new grants for Haiti over two years

NEW YORK – The Inter-American Development Bank today pledged to provide $400 million in new grants over the next two years to help Haiti carry out its national recovery plan after the devastating January 12 earthquake.

Speaking at an international donors meeting held at the United Nations, IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno hailed the Haitian government’s vision to turn the worst natural disaster in their country’s history into an opportunity to build a “new Haiti” with stronger democratic institutions, a more dynamic economy and a more equal society.

“We have witnessed close-up the capacity of the people of Haiti to overcome difficult challenges and get back on their feet quickly,” he said. “With the assistance of those of us in this room, and from others outside as well, we can help turn the vision of the new Haiti into a reality.”

Earlier in March, Moreno told the delegates to the conference, the IDB’s Board of Governors agreed on measures to provide Haiti some $2 billion in grants over the next decade and to contribute $479 million to cancel the country’s remaining debt to the Bank.

In April the IDB expects to approve around $100 million in grants for Haiti, including $30 million for temporary housing, $15 million for water and sanitation, $3 million for an e-government platform and $50 million in budget support for the Haitian government, which faces a sharp fall in revenues due to the economic damage losses caused by the earthquake. Later this year it will provide additional resources for investments in transportation infrastructure, schools, and natural disaster prevention and mitigation.

The IDB is also looking at cash-for-work programs, agricultural assistance and reforestation projects to support Haiti’s efforts to foster economic development beyond its capital city. “Some of these provide incentives for the 700,000 people who moved out of Port-au-Prince after the earthquake to remain in those areas,” Moreno said.

In a bid to help the Haitian private sector boost economic activity and job creation, the IDB is also working to promote local and foreign investments in new industrial parks and textile manufacturing plants. Through its Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), the IDB is also assisting small and medium-size businesses and microenterprises get back on their feet.

In addition, the IDB will assist Haiti in setting up a multi-donor trust fund and an interim reconstruction commission that will track the flow of foreign assistance and ensure that the national development plan is carried out in a timely and transparent manner.

The IDB has long been a leading source of long-term financing for Haiti. At present it has an active portfolio of around $700 million, of which some $330 million is undisbursed. About 40 percent of the financing is in infrastructure projects, 20 per cent in agriculture and environment, 25 percent in basic services and 15 percent in governance and institutional capacity building to strengthen the Haitian public sector.

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