Washington DC , February 3 , 2012 — Hasan Tuluy, the World Bank’s new Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) , will begin next Wednesday a two-day visit to Haiti, his first official visit to the LAC region since he took office on January 1st.
After meeting with Prime Minister Garry Conille in Washington on February 6, Mr. Tuluy will discuss the Government’s priorities and how the Bank can best continue to support the country’s reconstruction and longer-term development efforts with Mr. André Lemercier Georges, Minister of Economy and Finance, in Port au Prince.
Tuluy will also meet representatives from the public and the private sectors to exchange views on Haiti’s growth opportunities and development challenges.
“This is my first official trip and it reflects the priority we give Haiti. I am looking forward to see firsthand how two years after the devastating earthquake reconstruction is gaining momentum with tangible results on the ground,” Tuluy said, “In spite of the many challenges, a lot has been achieved through the joint efforts of Haitians and intern ational partners. The World Bank Group remains fully committed to Haiti’s reconstruction and will remain engaged with significant human and financial resources.”
On Wednesday, Tuluy and Jacques Hubert Daniel Rousseau, Minister of Public Works, Transport, Energy and Communications, will meet at the Office of Building Assessments which was created after the 2010 earthquake, with financial and technical support from the World Bank. During its first eight months of operations, the Office assessed and evaluated 400,000 buildings in Port-au-Prince and developed guidelines and building codes for safe public buildings, schools and hospitals. The Ministry also houses the database that allows the risks to which every village or town in Haiti is exposed to be identified, providing crucial information to reduce the population’s vulnerability to disasters in the entire country.
Tuluy will also visit the Pétionville Club Camp. The Bank’s Neighborhood Rehabilitation and Housing Reconstruction Program is contributing to the relocation of thousands of Haitians to permanent housing, many from this camp. The US$95 million program will provide housing for 85,000 people, upgrade neighborhoods and basic services to benefit 300,000 people, and help families move out of camps by providing rental subsidies.
On Friday, the Vice President will see a primary school that received tuition waivers and school feeding financed by IDAs. Since the earthquake the Bank has funded 210,000 tuition waivers and school meals for 75,000 children every day. Access to schools for poor children aged 6-12 is now being expanded and equity and quality will be enhanced in the sector over the next 3 years through a second Education for All Project. It will benefit a total of 175,000 Haitian children.
The World Bank also provides support on disaster risk management, agriculture and private sector development, under the 2012 World Bank Interim Strategy for Haiti which programs US$255 million in grants from the International Development Association’s (IDA) Crisis Response Window.
The devastating earthquake, which struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, significantly worsened the poverty and living conditions of the Haitian population and exacerbated the country’s development challenges. Over 220,000 people were killed and 300,000 wounded. The disaster brought the entire economy to a halt, wiping out an estimated 120 percent of GDP. The economy contracted by 5.4 percent in 2010 but is projected to have grown by 5.1 percent in 2011, in large part due to reconstruction efforts.
Despite weak capacity, much has been done. More than half of 11 million m3 of debris have been removed, camp occupancy has dropped from an estimated 1.5 million to around 520,000, schools have been open for the 2011-2012 school year, and robust preparation for the hurricane season in 2010 and 2011 resulted in fewer fatalities than in previous years.