The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced the approval of a $55 million grant to Haiti to help upgrade key highway sections and pave streets. The investments will improve transportation among urban areas and with the neighboring Dominican Republic, as well as generate temporary jobs in several cities.
The projects, which will be executed by the Ministry of Public Works, Transport, Energy and Communication (MTPTEC), are part of a broader program agreed with the government of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake to repair and improve its transportation infrastructure, including the roads network, ports and airports.
IDB resources will finance the rehabilitation of a 33-km (20-mile) stretch of RN8, which links Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, with the Dominican Republic and is the most heavily used road to transport cargo between both countries. The European Union is slated to finance a 10-km (6-mile) section of the same highway.
The project to pave 15.5 km (10 miles) of city streets using paving stones will be carried out by UNOPS, which has done many similar projects in Haiti employing unskilled labor. The goal is to provide temporary jobs to at least 2,500 people in cities in the departments of l’Ouest, Artibonite, Grand’ Anse, Sud and Sud-Est.
The new operation will also provide resources to complete the paving and civil works on RN7, which links the southern cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie. The IDB and Canada financed an earlier project to upgrade this 90-km (56-mile) highway, cutting travel times almost by half.
In addition, IDB resources will cover two years of maintenance of recently upgraded highways, the design of a national road safety strategy and institutional strengthening of the MTPTEC.
The IDB is Haiti’s leading multilateral donor. Since the earthquake it has approved $422 million in new grants and disbursed more than $330 million for projects in sectors such as transport, energy, water and sanitation, agriculture, education and private sector development.
- Peter Bate