[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
#1629: HAITI: POLITICAL CRISIS UNDERMINES FOREIGN AID (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Dec. 27) IPS - Desperately needed foreign aid has been
withheld from Haiti by some donors due to the country's failure to
consolidate its political infrastructure, according to a new report on
international development released here.
The report presented last week by the resident representative of the
United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Oscar Fernandez Taranco, and
the Haitian Minister for Planning and Foreign Cooperation, Anthony
Dessources, noted that in 1998 Haiti received $356 million in development
aid from the international community, far less that it received four years
The continued failure to name a prime minister or establish a working
parliament created a political crisis here which dragged on from June 1998
to March 1999 and made the international community disinclined to provide
much aid to Haiti, the report states.
The 1998 disbursements for development aid by the international
community were substantially less than the grants made to the country in
the years following the return to power of former President Jean-Bertrand
Between 1995 and 1996, the Haitian government received about $957
million from the international community for development programs, not
counting additional monies provided by some non-governmental organizations
The breakdown of 1998 assistance showed that multilateral contributions
amounted to about $187 million, bilateral aid accounted for $167 million
with just under $3 million coming from NGOs, the report said.
The report indicates that the institutional vacuum in both executive
and legislative branches made it difficult to approve cooperation
activities in the country. Because the crisis was so persistent, some
grantors did not approve new projects applied for by the Haitian
Others, while continuing their assistance, removed Haiti's name from
the list of priority countries, the report revealed.
"Development aid," said Fernandez Taranco, "is an important element in
helping developing countries and plays an even more decisive role for
countries with the smallest revenues, such as Haiti."
However, he added, efforts by Haiti's international partners can also
have a considerable impact if they respond to the clear political and
strategic choices made by the country itself, and are fully briefed about
them by Haitian authorities.
During the course of his presentation, Fernandez Taranco called on
Haitian leaders to create an environment favorable to formulating and
implementing development policies and strategies, beginning, he said, by
making sure that the coming legislative, municipal and local elections
take place on time and without any hitches.
Planning Minister Dessources expressed the government's disappointment
at the shortfall in funding being provided by the international community
for the Government Action Plan (PAG), presented last May by Jacques
Edouard Alexis, the country's prime minister.
The Minister said that financial aid from the international community
was not enough to effectively implement the PAG's programs, which include
a plan to substantially boost living conditions for the Haitian
"At the official presentation of the plan by Prime Minister Alexis,"
Dessources indicated, "we knew that international financial assistance was
going to be limited because the parliament had not yet ratified certain
He lamented the fact that new accords signed by the government and
international grantors, including the Inter-American Development Bank
(BID) had been blocked in parliament.
However, he added, the government had believed that the international
community, which had been enthusiastic about the plan, was going to make a
special effort to help the newly installed government meet its goals.
Unfortunately, said the Planning Minister, "we have not obtained this
hoped-for assistance seven months after the PAG was officially presented."
While saying the amount was insufficient, Mr. Dessources would not
reveal exact numbers regarding the contribution of the international
community toward the PAG.
According to Dessources, Prime Minister Alexis had hoped to improve
living conditions for the population and to create a favorable climate for
the coming elections through full implementation of the PAG.