Above: Port-au-Prince (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The World Bank’s executive board has approved a pair of grants for Haiti totaling $90 million.
The first is a $70 million grant from the International Development Association that will cover maternal and basic child health services. The bank said it could benefit “about 1.8 million women and children” in the country.
The second, $20 million grant will “improve the country’s business climate to attract private investment and growth.”
“Three-and-a-half years after the earthquake, government and partners are
shifting their focus to lifting the structural bottlenecks that hamper Haiti’s long-term development,” said Alexandre Abrantes, the World Bank’s special envoy to Haiti, in a release. “These projects aim to improve Haiti’s outlook for the future by improving the health status of Haitian families, building a stronger health system, creating jobs and jumpstarting sustainable growth.”
The health grant will reportedly provide free reproductive health services for 450,000 women and provide preventive and basic curative services for cholera, diarrhea, tuberculosis and other diseases for more than 1 million Haitians.
The business grant will focus on supporting the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, by “simplifying procedures to obtain licences” and improving access to finance.
The Bank said it would also look to improve the “regulatory and institutional framework” governing so-called Integrated Economic Zones.
Haiti is considering establishing at least one new IEZ outside of the capital.