The Inter-American Development Bank joined donor countries and multilateral agencies at an international conference held in Washington, D.C. to raise financial aid for priority programs for the political, economic and social recovery in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
During the July 19-20 conference co-hosted by the European Commission, the IDB, the United Nations and the World Bank, under the leadership of the provisional Haitian government, participants discussed the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF), a document containing an assessment of Haiti's most pressing development needs for the next two years. During the last day of the conference, donors pledged to contribute $1.08 billion, of which $260 million were pledged by the IDB.
The IDB is Haiti's leading source of financing for long-term development programs. Currently its portfolio includes soft loans totaling nearly $400 million, of which $340 million are available for disbursement over the next few years. Projects supported by the IDB cover sectors identified as priorities in the cooperation framework: education, health, potable water and sanitation, rural roads, agriculture, basic infrastructure and local development.
Two operations totaling $75 million are fast disbursing policy-based loans that support key measures to build confidence in Haiti’s economic governance, strengthen the management of its public finances and increase transparency and accountability in the public sector. Many of the investment projects, which are designed to be carried out over periods of four or five years, have already reached the stage at which substantial disbursements are starting to flow.
In line with the ICF goals of boosting job creation and generating income for the poor, programs financed by the IDB seek to employ labor-intensive methods, for instance in public works to improve roads or build small infrastructure projects in isolated communities. They will also contribute to key targets of Haiti's interim government of buttressing economic activity and raising living standards.
At the same time, the IDB is focusing its efforts on strengthening the Haitian public sector’s capacity to carry out key activities such as public resources administration and tax collection, in order to help government agencies bridge their needs of technical and professional expertise to plan, monitor and carry out development programs.
The IDB, whose country office in Port au Prince remained in operation throughout Haiti's recurrent crises, is also coordinating its activities closely with donor nations and other multilateral agencies to ensure efficient and effective investments of the international community's resources.
- Peter Bate