WASHINGTON, (CMC) – The World Bank says as of May this year, its portfolio in Haiti amounts to US$1.25 billion comprising 18 active projects of which 38 per cent is allocated to the infrastructure sector, supporting territorial balances and climate change adaptation.
The announcement by the Washington-based financial institution follows the visit last week of a high-level delegation that visited the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) holding discussions with Prime Minister Dr Ariel Henry and other stakeholders.
According to a World Bank statement, the delegation led by Ayat Soliman, regional director for strategies and operations, and including Lilia Burunciuc, country director for the Caribbean, renewed the continued commitment of the World Bank Group to the socio-economic development of Haiti and also discussed future engagements with the country.
It said consultations were held with the various stakeholders, including representatives of the Haiti Central Bank on the potential priorities under a new Country Partnership Framework that will guide WBG support to Haiti’s development efforts over the next five years.
The framework builds on the achievements and lessons from the ongoing programmes of the World Bank Group.
“Thanks to significant financial and technical support from the World Bank Group, we have made remarkable progress in the areas of governance, agriculture, education, health coverage, and disaster management, and access to basic infrastructure such as rural transport, water and sanitation,” said Finance Minister, Michel Patrick Boisvert.
“This new partnership framework should enable the World Bank Group to continue to engage effectively with the country for the next five years. For us in the government, these consultations ensure that the new partnership framework is well aligned with the needs of the country and our identified priorities,” he added.
The World Bank says Haiti faces deep structural challenges which are difficult to solve in the context of a protracted political and institutional crisis.
It said the current deteriorating political, economic, social and security situation in Haiti requires a significant and concerted effort among key stakeholders to address urgent governance deficits and improve transparency.
“There is also the need to improve basic key services and economic opportunities, restore some degree of macroeconomic stability and public security, while identifying entry points for longer-term strategic engagements to address the fundamental drivers of fragility and opportunities for growth.”
The Worlds Bank said the combination of political crises, escalating gang violence, successive natural disasters and disease outbreaks in recent years have deepened Haiti’s fragility.
Burunciuc said the dialogue between Haitian authorities and development partners is a necessary step to explore pathways to breaking out of the crisis-fragility trap, adding “together, we should identify opportunities to help Haiti address its challenges, for the benefit of its people.”
The overarching goal of the framework is to support Haiti at this critical juncture in its history in identifying pathways for restoring effective governance, sustaining basic public services, and resuming growth.
“The restoration of stability in Haiti is a critical first step in a broader transition process to rebuild trust between the population and the government, break the cycle of chronic crises and unrest, and engage civil society, youth, and the private sector to move the country toward a more stable and prosperous future,” said Soliman, who visited Haiti for the first time since her new appointment.