WASHINGTON, September 29, 2015 – Today, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new strategy in support of Haiti’s efforts to provide economic opportunities for all Haitians and reduce poverty in the country.
“This new strategy is a continuation of a long term partnership to improve access to basic services, energy and finance. I am also pleased that the World Bank Group also participates in the development of key infrastructure for the competitiveness of the private sector,” said Wilson Laleau, Minister of Economy and Finance. “With this new partnership framework, I also see a commitment from the World Bank alongside Haiti to mobilize additional resources to those of IDA in order to contribute more effectively to the recovery efforts of the country”.
Since the 2010 earthquake, Haiti has seen a number of positive developments: extreme poverty has fallen over the last decade, mainly in urban areas; key investments in infrastructure have been realized; the tourism sector is growing; and school enrolment and child and maternal health has improved. With limited domestic revenues and the return of donor assistance to pre-crisis levels, the country now needs to harness all its resources under tighter budget constraints.
“Nearly six years into Haiti’s reconstruction, the country is experiencing an economic and political transition. In the absence of a significant jump in growth with more equitable distribution of benefits to the poorest, poverty is likely to stagnate and Haiti will not reach its goal to become an emerging economy,” said Mary Barton-Dock, World Bank Special Envoy in Haiti. “This strategy follows a long consultation process which helped identify what the country needs and looks at how we can best respond to some of the country’s biggest challenges.”
The strategy, agreed with the Haitian government, identifies three main areas for support:
- Generate greater economic opportunities outside Port-au-Prince by increasing energy access and developing renewable energy; improving access to finance; and supporting a more competitive and productive private sector through public and private infrastructure in energy and ports.
- Strengthen human capital and access to services through better primary schools, improved maternal and child health services, combined with greater access to water and sanitation in 16 communes most affected by cholera, as well as health prevention and treatment to tackle waterborne diseases in the country.
- Enhance climate resilience by improving disaster response capacity and increasing the number of Haitians protected by new investments in flood mitigation and other climate resilient infrastructures, including drainage, reinforced bridges and all weather roads.
An underlining focus of the World Bank Group’s engagement in the country is to strengthen institutions and Government capacity, and improve public financial management in the context of rapidly declining aid and concessional financing.
The new strategy was jointly prepared by the Haitian Government, and the World Bank Group (WBG), comprised of the International Development Association (IDA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
The current World Bank’s Portfolio in Haiti stands at over US$826 million (as of August 2015). Following an exceptional IDA allocation post-earthquake, IDA’s new allocation amounts to US$111 million. This allocation could be leveraged through global trust funds.
Together with the World Bank, IFC, the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector, will continue to play an essential role in improving economic opportunities by developing Haiti’s private sector with a specific focus on agribusiness and electricity. IFC has a committed portfolio in Haiti of US$122 million, including US$24 million mobilized from other partners.
“IFC is now the largest provider of foreign direct investment in Haiti; we help the private sector foster inclusive economic growth. Haiti’s needs can only be met if private enterprises are able to grow, create jobs, and provide essential goods and services to improve people’s lives. Our clients are having a direct impact in these areas, and they are demonstrating that businesses can be developed with good international standards in Haiti,” said Sylvain Kakou, IFC Country Head in Haiti.
MIGA does not currently have any exposure in Haiti, but will work with the IFC and the World Bank to provide support and increase opportunities for foreign private investment into the country, where possible.