As a long-standing partner of Haiti, the IDB is pleased to take part in this important conference, which ratifies the international community’s strong commitment to support the government’s vision and long-term development strategy.
I welcome this opportunity to reiterate that the IDB supports the pursuit of a continued and coordinated donor approach led by the Haitian government, as well as a country-driven development process.
Following the March 2006 elections we initiated a fruitful dialogue with President René Préval and his cabinet. Yesterday we had the opportunity to have a productive exchange with them. The authorities presented their long-term vision for the country, which extends beyond electoral terms and was prepared in consultation with all segments of society.
The government requested a strong and effective coordination of the international community’s efforts to support its vision, along the lines defined by the Paris Declaration. Every effort must be made to apply flexible and harmonized procedures and avoid duplications.
The government has identified immediate actions and medium-term priorities where they require IDB support. We are committed to ensuring an effective response to these priorities.
In the short run, we offered assistance to expand garbage collection, strengthen human resources in key public institutions and provide budget support.
Over the medium term, we will concentrate our efforts in three key sectors: infrastructure (principally roads, electricity and water and sanitation), agriculture and education.
Furthermore, we will continue to support the government with innovative solutions in its efforts to establish the levels of macroeconomic and institutional stability necessary to obtain debt relief under HIPC and other initiatives.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the resources provided by the international community, we will support the strengthening of Haitian public institutions through technical assistance and capacity building.
In addition, the IDB will work with the Haitian private sector to identify needs in critical areas for economic recovery, such as support for export activities, telecoms and microfinance.
The IDB will also develop initiatives to help create opportunities for the majority. We have offered the Haitian government technical assistance to find ways to unlock what Hernando de Soto calls “dead capital.” We have also offered to work with the OAS and other institutions to solve the problem of under registration of births and the issuance of identification documents, particularly for children.
Today, the IDB has 69 operations distributed in 15 active loans for a total amount of US$524.5 million and 54 technical assistance grants in excess of US$17 million.
The current available balance for disbursement is about US$420 million. This growing portfolio places the IDB as the leading source of long-term lending for Haiti.
With these goals in mind, the IDB is prepared to pledge approximately US$150 million for the next 18 months, with the likelihood and possibility of reaching US$225 million, subject to the approval of the IDB Board of Directors.
I am optimistic about Haiti’s prospects for economic recovery, long-term development and significant poverty reduction.
Let us renew our efforts and work together with the government to scale up our aid in order to provide results-oriented assistance to meet the needs and expectations of Haiti’s people.