Above: Sri Mulyani Indrawati (World Bank Photo/Dominic Chavez)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti is seeing “visible progress,” according to World Bank Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who recently concluded a three-day visit to the country.
“The Haiti I saw over the last days is very different from the country I saw during my visit in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake,” she said. “I am encouraged by the visible progress. More than 1.3 million people moved from camps to neighborhoods. Many now live in safer homes, she said. Extreme poverty has declined and access to some basic services has improved over the last twelve years. This is good news, but rural Haitians have yet to benefit from these gains.”
What she saw as the biggest success was in education, where participation rates of school-age children had risen to 90 percent from 78 percent, although she said the quality of education “remains low,” and only “one third of all children aged 14” were in the appropriate grade for their age.
Indrawati called for broadening economic and social opportunities for “all Haitians,” especially in rural areas, however.
“Globally, rural poverty is often higher and more difficult to fight than in urban areas. But providing education, health services, and jobs to these communities is critical to promote equal access to a better life for all Haitians,” she said. “We support the Haitian government s efforts to extend the successes they achieved in the cities to remote and underserved areas.”
But she also said that as inequality persisted, as many as 2.5 million Haitians living on $2 per day were in danger of falling back into poverty.”
Indrawati was joined on the trip by Jorge Familiar, the recently-appointed World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean.
She also traveled to the area of Les Cayes with Haiti’s Agriculture Minister, Thomas Jacques, to visit a World Bank project that aims to boost productivity in the farming sector, and on Tuesday held a meeting with Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.