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IFC to Help Provide Disaster Insurance for Micro-Entrepreneurs in Haiti

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 30, 2013

Above: flooding after Sandy (UN Photo/Logan Abassi)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with donors on a programme to help provide disaster insurance for micro-entrepreneurs in Haiti.

The Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organization (MiCRO), aims to help thousands of low-income micro-entrepreneurs protect their businesses against weather related risks and natural disasters.

Despite the fact that Haiti is prone to several forms of natural disasters, including hurricanes and floods, only 0.3 percent of the country’s population has some form of insurance, one of the lowest rates in the world, according to the IFC.

The $1.96 million project includes a $1.7 million performance-based grant, and $260,000 in technical assistance from the Global Index Insurance Facility, a programme managed by the IFC and jointly implemented with the World Bank.

“There is tremendous potential in Haiti. By working with IFC and our local partners we can provide much-needed insurance that helps Haitians unleash economic growth,” said Javier Niño Perez, Head of the EU delegation in Haiti. “This project in Haiti is an important step toward developing sustainable local markets for insurance that helps the poor protect themselves from natural disasters and weather-related risks.”

GIIF is funded primarily by the European Union, with additional funding from Japan and the Netherlands.

The project will be distributed through microfinance firm Fonkoze.

Over the next three years, 70,000 Fonkoze clients, largely rural women in Haiti, are slated to be insured through the programme.

“In Haiti, entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid, and women in particular, must be given the opportunity to generate income for their households, grow their businesses, create jobs, and build assets,” said Ary Naim, IFC Representative in Haiti. “With this innovative product, IFC hopes to have a strong impact, preventing natural disasters from wiping out the hard work of thousands of Haitian entrepreneurs to get out of poverty.”

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