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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
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
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
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
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.
$390 A YEAR PER CAPITA INCOME
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
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.