“One year ago Haiti suffered the worst natural disaster in the history of the Western Hemisphere, a catastrophe on a scale that would have brought any country in the world to its knees. On top of the tragic loss of more than 230,000 lives, the earthquake was a staggering setback for a nation that was starting to make progress in its fight against poverty.
The world responded to Haiti’s plight with generous donations of humanitarian aid and unprecedented pledges to help the Haitian government and its people build back better. Much has been done to alleviate their suffering but, as the recent cholera outbreak showed, Haiti is still in crisis.
Over the last year, the IDB has continued providing assistance to address urgent needs, such as building temporary shelters and delivering potable water. However, as a development agency, our primary responsibility lies in helping Haiti make the long-term investments needed to lift its people’s standard of living.
Many of the projects we’re financing involve building infrastructure, ranging from roads to schools. We’re also investing in a stronger public sector. This is a slow and complex task, prone to setbacks and disappointments, but it is indispensable for Haiti to overcome its dependence on foreign aid.
In addition, Haiti desperately needs to generate more jobs. To that end, we are working on several fronts, from expanding access to credit for microentrepreneurs and small businesses to persuading major clothing manufacturers to establish factories in Haiti.
These efforts won’t bear fruit overnight. They require patience, persistence and stability. We look forward to the day when Haiti’s leaders reach an agreement to brook their political differences and recreate the conditions needed to unleash their people’s productive energies and creativity. The IDB remains ready to accompany Haiti and its people on that road to a better future.”