The World Bank strategy balances reconstruction needs with long-term economic development. Reconstruction work focuses on housing and electricity. In housing, the neighborhood reconstruction approach is being used, which includes infrastructure improvements in neighborhoods, along with housing repair and reconstruction, and rental subsidies to facilitate return of displaced persons from camps into neighborhoods. In the electricity sector, support is centered on increasing access and quality of service, improving management of the public electricity utility, and reducing Government transfers over time.
Beyond reconstruction, the World Bank Group supports government efforts to reduce its vulnerability to natural disasters, reconstruct critical infrastructure, build human capital, promote decentralized and inclusive growth, and strengthen governance.
Investment operations in disaster risk management to improve nation-wide disaster response capacity and enhance the resiliency of critical transport infrastructure are complemented by strategic use of trust fund resources (Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery), which has led to building codes for public building as well as a multi-hazard assessment following the earthquake. To support the building of human capital, the Bank finances tuition waivers and school feeding for children in primary schools, as well as improvements support to the Government to improve the in the quality of education. It also finances health services for mothers and children under 5, referrals and waivers for health services to vulnerable people in remote areas, cholera prevention education and treatment, as well as improving access to water and sanitation.
To help revitalize the economy in a way that promotes inclusive growth and decentralization, the World Bank finance improved agriculture public services to increase yields and rural incomes, small scale, local infrastructure using a community-driven approach, and invests in regional development in the North, Artibonite, and Centre regions and working with IFC to improve the business environment. Increase access to finance for SMEs, and create jobs.
Through budget support, the World Bank has helped the government close its fiscal deficit and continues to support its effort to reform public financial management, including increasing the transparency and efficiency of public spending.
Improving governance and building government capacity is a cross-cutting theme of the World Bank program. All of the projects focus on strengthening the role of state institutions, including building capacity to set effective and evidence based public policies and deliver services to the people. The Bank program also contributes to this objective by providing all of its financing to the State.
In response to the earthquake of 2010, the World Bank’s fund to support the poorest countries, the International Development Association, made an exceptional allocation of US$500 million to Haiti in the form of grants, which is the largest ever allocation to Haiti by the World Bank. The entire amount is already available to the Government through ongoing projects.
The World Bank’s portfolio in Haiti comprises 15 projects, with a net committed amount of $793.8M, the largest engagement ever in Haiti by the Bank. The Bank is the third largest donor to Haiti, behind the US Government and IADB.
As of September, total disbursements for active Bank projects are $253.20M, approximately 40% of the net committed amount. Disbursements totaled $120M in FY14, and additional disbursements of $80M are expected in FY15.
Support for the private sector
The investment climate in Haiti is hampered by a number of challenges including business environment, land availability and ownership rights, access to basic infrastructure, logistic and financial services, and access to skills. IDA resources finances tourism in the North, transport and market infrastructure in the Centre and Artibonite regions, the development of regional value chains in each of the 10 departments, and technical assistance on financial inclusion. In addition to IDA, the World Bank Group engages in Haiti’s private sector through an active IFC portfolio. IFC’s strategy in Haiti is twofold: 1) create immediate jobs, access to basic infrastructure, and income opportunities by making catalytic investments despite remaining challenges; 2) support the development of a sustainable and inclusive economy, through advisory programs that help address challenges and foster a more conducive environment for investors and for micro, small, and medium enterprises.
Since the January 2010 earthquake, IFC has committed six new investment transactions and significantly scaled up its advisory operations. To date, IFC’s committed portfolio in Haiti amounts to US$69.6M, of which US$44.4M is on IFC’s own account and US$25.2M is mobilized from other partners. IFC’s combined investment and advisory projects in Haiti have helped create 5,000 new jobs and safeguard 5,000 existing jobs.
IFC Advisory Services in Haiti has supported the business training of nearly 3,000 entrepreneurs and managers (of which 45% were women), through partner SOFIHDES. MiCRO, an IFC Advisory Services project, will help to insure 70,000 micro-entrepreneurs against natural disasters.