Press Release No:2007/221/LAC

WASHINGTON, January 30, 2007 ? The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today discussed a new Interim Strategy for Haiti which projects financial assistance of up to US$82 million in grants over the next 18 months to support the country’s development agenda. In addition, the Board of Directors approved two grants for a total of US$28 million to support economic governance reform (US$23 million) and water and sanitation in rural areas (US$5 million).

“The Bank’s interim strategy supports the Haitian Government’s efforts to strengthen governance and deliver quick and visible benefits to the Haitian people,” said Caroline Anstey, World Bank Director for the Caribbean. “Without good governance and improvements in basic services in both urban and rural areas, development will not fully take hold.”

The strategy focuses on selective interventions in areas where the Government has requested support from the World Bank Group, where the Bank has a comparative advantage and where Bank action can either complement or leverage support from other donors. The Bank Group’s program of new activities for the next 18 months focuses on three of the four key pillars of the Government’s development strategy:

i) support to improve economic governance bypromoting efficiency, transparency and accountability in the use of public resources;

ii) support to promote economic growth, through sustainable improvement in the quality of electricity services; and

iii) support for improving access to primary education, and potable water and sanitation services, especially in rural communities.

Improving Economic Governance in Haiti

The Economic Governance Reform Operation II (US$23 million budget support) approved today by the Board will support institutional development and good governance by:

a) promoting public financial management and procurement reforms;

b) strengthening public sector human resource management and employee accountability;

c) improving efficiency and transparency in public infrastructure management; and

d) supporting governance reforms in the education sector to promote accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.

Improving Water and Sanitation Services in Rural Areas

In addition, the Rural Water and Sanitation Project (US$5 million, investment grant) aims at increasing access to water supply and sanitation services in participating rural communities by:

– increasing the sustained and effective use of safe drinking water;

– improving use of effective sanitation and hygiene practices; and

– strengthening the capacity of the implementing agency, local water committees, and professional operators in cooperation with local government.

For the first time in rural water supply and sanitation in Haiti, the project will help to build a close partnership between a public entity (SNEP) as the implementing agency and a service provider (an NGO or a firm) working under the direction and leadership of the public entity. This approach is being promoted both at the national and departmental level.