Originally: Haiti confident donors will pay for rebuilding

Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue said Monday he expects donors meeting here will agree to pay for a 1.3-billion-dollar revival of the shattered country.

“I am sure the money will come tomorrow,” Latortue, who is to address the two-day donors’ conference Tuesday, told reporters here.

“We are ready this time to make sure that there will be a very good coordination in the implementation of the program,” he said, promising his office would answer for how the aid is spent.

The prime minister, leading an interim government of technocrats who have pledged not to seek re-election, said he expected donors would provide nearly all of the requested funds.

Elections for a new government are planned next year.
Haiti needs 1.3 billion dollars over two years to rebuild, according to an assessment by Haiti, the European Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations and the World Bank.

More than half the money has already been promised. The IDB has committed to giving 400 million dollars, the United States 232 million dollars, and Canada 135 million dollars.

A decade ago, donors promised massive assistance to Haiti but the effort stopped when Haiti suspended economic reforms.

Now, donors including the World Bank say there is an opportunity to help Haiti while the interim government is in power, with improved management of the aid.

The US-backed interim government took over after then president Jean Bertrand Aristide fled a popular revolt February 29. The country was rocked by ensuing riots and then engulfed by floods.

“Haiti was once the world’s richest colony,” United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEC) deputy executive director Kul Gautam told the conference.

“For the last 100 years it has been the poorest country in the Western hemisphere,” Gautam said.
“We cannot expect a country to prosper and thrive when half its people are illiterate, half the people have no access to clean drinking water, half its children do not even finish primary school and two-thirds of its infants are not immunized,” he said.

Haiti’s planning and environment minister, Roland Pierre, set out a four-point rebuilding budget: 173 million dollars to re-establish security and reform the judicial system; 167 million dollars to improve economic policy and spur growth; 526 million dollars to develop agriculture and 447 million dollars to decentralize government.

British-based charity Oxfam pressed the United States to improve its offer by donating 400 million dollars in new aid over the next two years.

Oxfam also pressed for faster, deeper relief of Haiti’s external debt, which it estimated to be more than 1.2 billion dollars.

US Treasury Under Secretary John Taylor said Friday he was “very impressed” with the interim government.
“We will not only focus on getting the funds raised, which is very important, but on getting them delivered like never before to make things change for the Haitian population,” he said.