PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, reaffirmed the IDB support to Haiti as the country's main multilateral donor, in a year marked by several important milestones. Significant achievements included a tripling in the volume of grants originally planned for 2009-2010, expected record disbursements and debt relief, increased partnership with the Government and greater coordination with the donor community.
"The IDB is very proud to be a strong partner of Haiti and to reinforce coordination with the international donor community to strengthen commitments to help the Haitian Government and its people," said Moreno. "We have renewed our joint effort to fight poverty and promote sustained economic growth," added Moreno.
Moreno also hailed the private-sector support shown this year at the unprecedented conference on promoting investment, organized by the IDB with financial support from the Canadian Government and the backing of the Haitian Government and the United Nations special envoy for Haiti, former U.S. President Bill Clinton in October.
More than 500 foreign and Haitian private sector representatives gathered to explore opportunities in key economic sectors, including garment manufacturing, sustainable energy and production and agribusiness. Representatives from large U.S., Canadian, Dominican, Brazilian and Colombian corporations, among others, were present, underscoring Haiti's increased stability and improved outlook.
During his visit to the country, Moreno is expected to meet Haiti President René Préval and other authorities, businessmen and civil society representatives and to visit development projects.
Technical Cooperation Signing
Upon arrival in Port-au-Prince, together with the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Hon. Mme. Jocelyne Fethière; and the President of the Board of the Association des Industries d'Haiti ("ADIH"), Georges Sassine, and other authorities, President Moreno participated in the signing ceremony of a technical cooperation agreement between the Inter-American Development Bank as administrator of the Multilateral Investment Fund and ADIH, aimed at providing technical assistance to eligible Haitian garment companies and improving foreign investment in the Haitian garment sector.
This technical cooperation is part of a Multilateral Investment Fund's project that currently includes the potential establishment, in partnership with Sociètè Financière Haitienne de Développment, S.A. (SOFIHDES), of a co-lending facility to provide loans to eligible Haitian garment companies, with an initial capital contribution of $1 million from each organization.
The project will help generate and preserve employment levels of Haitian workers in urban areas, particularly in low income groups, by facilitating access to working capital financing and technical assistance to strengthen existing companies in the garment sector.
The IDB's portfolio as Haiti's largest multilateral donor consists of programs for a total of more than $700 million. In 2009, program disbursements will reach $130 million, well over double the 2005 and 2006 levels. Disbursements are expected to continue to increase in the years to come.
The IDB also granted this year $511 million in debt relief, clearing the way for the Government to undertake vital public investments.
In an effort to help Haiti recover from the multiple 2008 shocks and restore the path to sustained economic growth, in 2009 the Bank provided unparalleled financial and technical assistance.
Looking ahead, IDB support to Haiti will continue to focus on priority areas that have been identified with country authorities: transportation and infrastructure, productive activities and private sector development, basic services, prevention and mitigation of natural disaster risk and environmental sustainability, and economic governance.