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28733: (news) Chamberlain: Donor nations pledge $750 million (later story) (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
Donor nations pledge $750 million for Haiti
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, July 25 (Reuters) - International donors
pledged $750 million on Tuesday to help fund impoverished Haiti's economic
recovery efforts for the next fiscal year.
The pledges exceeded the $540 million requested by the newly elected
government of President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jacques Edouard
Alexis in immediate donations to help build roads, schools and hospitals
and to strengthen Haiti's police force and judicial system.
Delegates from about 40 nations and financial institutions gathered in
Port-au-Prince for a conference aimed at helping the turbulent and
destitute Caribbean country build social and economic stability.
The World Bank's director for the Caribbean, Caroline Anstey, said she
was encouraged by the new government's assurances that the money would be
"I think Mr. Preval and Mr. Alexis have made strong commitments to
that kind of transparency, accountability that donors request to move
forward," Anstey said. "It's a new beginning. We need to act now to break
that vicious cycle of poverty, insecurity and instability."
The pledges were expected to clear the way for Preval's government to
submit a budget to parliament for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1
"We are delighted by the commitment of the international community,"
Alexis said. "Its response has been enthusiastic. We'll make sure those
funds are used for good ends."
Haiti has requested $7 billion to pay for long-term efforts to
improve security, health and agriculture and promote institutional reform
in the poorest country in the Americas. Donors planned to meet again in
November in Madrid to consider long-term funding for Haiti.
Participants in the meeting included delegates from the World Bank,
the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union and the U.S. Agency
for International Development.
The donor community pledged $1.3 billion in 2004 to help Haiti
rebuild after an armed rebellion toppled the government of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but the interim government that replaced Aristide
complained that not all the money had been disbursed.
The World Bank pledged $61 million for the next year, on top of $66
million already committed.
The donor pledges for the coming year include $120 million to
compensate employees who were fired arbitrarily during the interim
administration, fund job training, establish small businesses and integrate
former soldiers into the civilian work force.
The pending long-term funding request includes $1.2 billion for health
projects and $1.5 billion for public works projects, including a road
system that would link all of Haiti's provinces.