WASHINGTON, October 16, 2008 - World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick will visit Haiti next week to emphasize the Bank's strong support for the country, raise awareness of its situation after being badly hit by recent natural disasters, rally donor support, and discuss emergency recovery, the food crisis, economic perspectives, as well as medium- and long-term development plans.
"Haiti must be given a chance. The international community needs to step up to the challenge and support the efforts of the Haitian government and its people," said Zoellick. "We need to work to protect valuable development gains, especially for those disrupted by natural disasters, and the food, fuel and finance crisis, which are threatening not just to knock the poorest people down, but to hold them down," he added.
Last week, Zoellick announced US$25 million in additional emergency grants to Haiti to support recovery and rebuilding, and strengthen its institutional capacity to cope with natural disasters following four tropical storms and hurricanes since August.
During his visit to Haiti (October 20-22), Zoellick will meet President René Préval and members of his cabinet. He will also visit disaster-affected areas, including Gonaives, and World Bank-sponsored projects, such as a school feeding program. Zoellick will discuss the country's disaster coordination and response, and food security and agriculture with government officials, donors, civil society and private sector.
The World Bank has approved US$240 million in assistance for Haiti since 2005, including a recent US$10 million emergency grant to help the government respond to the food price crisis. This total does not include the US$25 million additional funds announced earlier this month and about US$14 million of trust fund resources invested in Haiti.
In Port-au-Prince: Alejandro Cedeño (509)
In Washington: Patricia da Camara (202) 473-4019