WASHINGTON, June 2, 2009 - The World Bank Group's Board of Directors endorsed today a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Haiti, which includes about US$121 million in development assistance over four years from the International Development Association (IDA), the part of the World Bank that helps the world's poorest countries.
The CAS focuses on three broad areas: promoting growth and local development; investing in human capital (particularly education); and reducing vulnerability to disasters. Cutting across the strategy is a two-pronged approach, combining institutional strengthening with support for the Government in the delivery of quick, visible results, in terms of jobs and services. The document aligns World Bank Group assistance with Haiti's own strategic priorities, primarily as set out in the National Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (DSNCRP). It also reflects strategic reassessment by the Government in response to the food crisis and devastating hurricanes of 2008.
"With this new strategy, we are supporting Haiti's own efforts to put the difficult events of last year firmly behind it, and return to a path toward longer term growth and development," said Yvonne Tsikata, the World Bank's Country Director for the Caribbean. "The country faces great opportunities, as well as huge challenges, and it needs strong and sustained support from the World Bank Group and other international partners."
The Bank Group plans to provide assistance through a balanced mix of investment projects and development policy operations. In addition to the IDA funding, the Bank expects to mobilize considerable resources through the trust funds it administers, maintain a strong program of analytical and advisory activities, and work closely with the government and other development partners to advance aid coordination and harmonization. The World Bank Group's private sector financing arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will aim to catalyze private sector development through direct lending and advisory services, and leveraging donor support for private sector development.
The document identifies two potential drivers of growth in Haiti as agriculture and textile manufacturing, particularly in the context of the preferential US market access available under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act II (HOPE II).
"The IFC will focus on maximizing the potential growth of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, by stimulating private sector activity and investment. We are working with the government and investors to identify key feasible actions and priorities that will together have the greatest growth impact," said Atul Mehta, Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Department, IFC.
Overall, IFC will focus on: (i) facilitating access to finance; (ii) infrastructure; (iii) lending and advising in growth sectors (including investment opportunities presented by the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act II, known as HOPE II); and (iv) human capital development.
In Washington: Alejandro Cedeño (202)
Cristina González (202) 473-4634