WASHINGTON, USA -- On Thursday, the World Bank’s board of directors endorsed a new two-year strategy for Haiti that will continue to reduce the population’s vulnerability to disasters, provide 1.5 million people with cholera education, prevention and treatment, and support the repair and reconstruction of houses so that 45,000 people can return to safe homes. The strategy will also improve access to electricity for 600,000 people and finance tuition of 100,000 children per year.
In response to the earthquake, donors allocated US$500 million from the International Development Association’s (IDA) Crisis Response Window to Haiti for the period of 2012-14. The Haiti Interim Strategy Note (ISN 2) for 2013/14 programs the remaining US$245 million in grants, following the first tranche of US$255 million, which was approved in December 2011.
“The new World Bank strategy for 2013/14 supports the government’s priorities and efforts. Our proximity to large markets and substantial opportunities for agriculture and tourism development provide Haiti with a real potential for growth. To capitalize on this potential, we will work with the Bank and other partners to deepen public sector reforms and governance, accelerate reconstruction, and improve the business environment, all along with a deep and constant concern about employment and poverty reduction issues,” said Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie, Haiti's Minister of Economy and Finance.
In addition, ISN 2 will:
• Support ante- and postnatal care services to around half a million pregnant women and provide healthcare services to 1.5 million children under five.
• Advance inclusive growth by restoring historical sites and promoting tourism in the North.
• Increase productivity and competitiveness of the agriculture sector with improved food security and nutrition mong the most vulnerable groups.
• Improve government accountability and transparency in public financial management, and build Haiti’s capacity to deliver services to its people.
“Almost three years after the devastating earthquake, we continue to invest in reconstruction, basic health and education services, which remain vital to address the urgent needs of Haitians,” said Hasan Tuluy, World Bank vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, “In addition, under this interim strategy, we support the government in its transition from emergency response to longer-term development. This means helping to build capacity and institutions, and improving the conditions for private investment and economic development outside of Port au Prince.”
As part of the ISN 2’s envelope, the Board of Directors approved US$125 million on Thursday for the following two projects:
• Rebuilding Energy Infrastructure and Access (US$90 million)
This energy project aims to increase access and improve the quality of electricity services for 600,000 people in urban and rural areas, promote the development of renewable energy sources outside of Port-au-Prince. It will also improve the commercial viability of Electricité d’Haïti (EDH), the public power sector utility in charge of distribution and transmission.
Fewer than three million Haitians (about 25% of the population) have access to electricity services, making Haiti the country with the lowest per capita electricity consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean. The quality of electricity services is characterized by frequent interruptions and high tariffs.
• Additional Financing for the Infrastructure and Institutions Emergency Recovery Project (US$35 million)
The project will finance the continued operation of Port au Prince’s main debris management site, the rehabilitation of two road segments in the North that are critical for economic growth and tourism development, and improve the air safety navigation system of the Port-au-Prince Airport.
The 2010 earthquake killed 230,000 people and displaced 1.5 million. It generated damages and losses of about US$7.9 billion (120% of GDP) and US$11.3 billion in estimated reconstruction needs. The massive destruction of infrastructure, including public buildings, roads, bridges, housing, electricity, water, and telecommunications, disrupted the entire country and exacerbated the country’s development challenges.
Despite these difficult conditions, progress has been made since January 2010. Donors have committed US$8.7 billion in humanitarian and project investments, of which US$5.8 billion have been disbursed, and have provided US$1 billion in debt relief. Rubble has been cleared, of the 1.5 million displaced, 360,000 remain in camps.
Exceptional efforts have been made to combat and contain cholera, and free access to education has been expanded with donor and government funds. The government has launched a social safety net program, stepped up agriculture investments, committed to electricity sector reforms, and is working to attract foreign investors.