[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

28202: Craig (news) New Haiti leader seeks boost in $1B aid plan (fwd)

From:  Dan Craig

New Haiti leader seeks boost in $1 bln aid plan
30 Mar 2006 16:24:43 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Gilbert Le Gras NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - Haitian President-elect Rene Preval will host a meeting of 26 foreign aid bodies this summer to extend a $1 billion aid program and seek new funds to help his country, the most impoverished in the Americas, sources familiar with the talks said on Thursday.

The sources spoke after Preval's whirlwind U.S. tour this week of donors, which kicked off Monday with an appeal to governments at the United Nations to step up development aid to his impoverished Caribbean nation or put democracy at risk.

Preval, elected in February and due to take office next month, seeks to press for additional funds to meet goals ranging from primary education for all students, restoring electricity services and expanding health care.

The sources said the meeting of the aid umbrella group for Haiti -- known as the International Cooperation Framework -- is scheduled for early this summer in Port-au-Prince.

So far the ICF aid program has paid out more than $700 million of the $1.08 billion pledged in July 2004.

The sources spoke to Reuters Thursday after Preval, a one-time ally of ousted former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, met this week in Washington with President George W. Bush and top officials at the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States.

These international bodies, as well as foreign governments including major donors like the United States, Canada and France, are coordinating their assistance through the ICF aid program, drafted two years ago to address Haiti's many needs.


The World Bank estimates annual per capita income in Haiti around $390 while the United Nations puts an average Haitian's life expectancy in the early 50s.

The International Monetary Fund said this week that it could begin the process of approving low-interest loans to Haiti, if the country meets the terms of global debt relief program for the world's poorest countries.

Other items on multilateral lenders' agenda before the donors' conference in Haiti include territorial and transportation development, electrification, and technical assistance.

The new aid conference set for mid-year should also discuss extending the ICF program through to December 2007 from its original expiration date in September, the sources said.

The ICF has involved more than 200 national and international experts from 26 bilateral and multilateral donors.