World Bank's 2012 Priorities for Haiti: Education, Agriculture, Disaster Management
While the World Bank has a mixed record in Haiti, it and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) remain two of the most important multilateral funders of its post earthquake reconstruction. Yesterday, the World Bank announced $255 million in grants for Haiti which will be focused on strengthening education, agriculture, and disaster risk management – all of which are critical for Haiti’s long term development. The World Bank press release follows. More information about its activities in Haiti are available on the World Bank website.
The World Bank Board of Directors today endorsed a new 12-month strategy for Haiti that will help protect the country’s population from natural disasters, support the return of 22,500 people to safe housing, improve neighborhoods for 75,000 people, finance tuition for 100,000 children and school feeding for 75,000 children. In addition, the strategy aims to revitalize the economy, improve conditions for investment, and strengthen the productivity and sustainability of agriculture and rural development. The 2012 Haiti Interim Strategy Note (ISN) programs US$255 million in grants from the International Development Association’s (IDA) Crisis Response Window.
“The new interim strategy underlines the World Bank’s commitment to Haiti’s ongoing reconstruction and longer-term economic recovery efforts,” said Pamela Cox, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. “The strategy is closely aligned with the Government’s priorities and designed to provide substantial support for physical reconstruction and institutional strengthening in order to deliver concrete short-term results, while increasing the country’s capacity to rebuild itself.” The ISN lays out the World Bank Group’s program for the next year and includes the following additional results:
1) Greater resilience to natural disasters and other crises (such as cholera) through improved performance of national institutions and infrastructure;
2) Improvements in the business environment and the launching of investments that will create jobs outside of the capital; and
3) Improved public procurement, transparency and financial management.
As part of the ISN’s envelope, the Board of Directors approved US$180 million today for the following three projects:
Education for All (US$70 million): The second phase of the Education for All Project will support Haiti’s strategy for rebuilding the education system by increasing access to primary education for poor children aged 6-12 and improving equity and quality of the education sector. The project will benefit a total of 175,000 Haitian children. In peri-urban areas, the project will allow about 100,000 students per year in approximately 1,200 schools to attend school free of charge, while 75,000 children will receive hot meals in school every day. In addition, 8,280 student-teachers will benefit from accelerated teacher training, resulting in thousands of additional qualified primary teachers. For those children living in rural areas without access to primary education services, the project’s community-based approach will reach 6,250 students in 200 communities, and generate an estimated 36,000 spaces for students in the coming years.
Disaster Risk Management (US$60 million): The US$60 million Disaster Risk Management and Reconstruction Project will help Haiti improve its disaster response capacity and enhance the resiliency of critical transport infrastructure. Haiti ranks as one of the countries with the highest exposure to multiple natural hazards, with 96 percent of its population living at risk. Following the January 2010 earthquake, the Bank helped to restore critical capacities for recovery and planning of disaster-resilient reconstruction. This project will further strengthen the country’s capacity for disaster preparedness and response through the following activities:
1) Support the National Disaster Risk Management by strengthening the national network of civil protection committees, setting up a reliable emergency communications system, and expanding the national emergency shelter network;
2) Strengthen the capacity of key ministries to integrate knowledge on disaster risk in policy and decision making processes; and
3) Rehabilitate vulnerable and damaged critical transport infrastructure.
Re-launching Agriculture (US$50 million): The third project approved today for US$50 million, including US$10 million co-financing from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program Trust Fund (GAFSP), supports Haiti’s National Agriculture Investment Plan to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the agriculture sector, while improving food security and nutrition among the most vulnerable groups. Agriculture plays a dominant role in Haiti’s economy, contributing 25 percent of GDP and accounting for around 50 percent of overall employment. Specifically, the project will:
1) Strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR) to implement the National Agriculture Extension Strategy;
2) Increase access of 50,000 small and medium producers to the latest in agriculture technologies and training on animal and plant health throughout the country; and
3) Provide financial assistance in the case of an agriculture sector emergency.
The devastating earthquake, which struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, significantly worsened the poverty and living conditions of the Haitian population and exacerbated the country’s development challenges. Over 220,000 people were killed and 300,000 wounded. The disaster brought the entire economy to a halt, wiping out an estimated 120 percent of GDP. The economy is projected to grow by 7.5 percent in 2011 in large part due to reconstruction efforts. Despite weak capacity, much has been done. Four of 11 million m3 of debris have been removed, camp occupancy has dropped from an estimated 1.3 million to around 600,000, schools have reopened for the 2011-2012 school year, and capacity to prepare for hurricanes has been strengthened as demonstrated by the limited impacts of Hurricane Tomas in October 2010 and the preparation of the 2011 hurricane season.
About the World Bank Support to Haiti: To help Haiti recover from the January 2010 earthquake, the World Bank Group pledged US$479 million, including relieving Haiti’s debt to the World Bank, which has been completed. As of November 2011, the World Bank has delivered US$426 million (89 percent) of its pledge in the form of new funding, disbursements, private sector support, and debt relief. On average, the World Bank disbursed close to US$10 million per month over this period. In addition, IDA donors have allocated an exceptional US$530 million to Haiti from IDA 16’s Crisis Window for 2012-2014. The new ISN for calendar year 2012 programs half of these resources. With about 10 percent of pledged aid flows, IDA becomes one of Haiti’s 5 largest donors.
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