Construction of an electricity grid in Caribbean ally Haiti is expected to begin before the end of this year, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.
The deal is now in the final stage as an on-site investigative team from Taiwan is making final checks in Haiti, Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Director-General Alexander Yui (俞大雷) told a media briefing in Taipei.
The government is also helping Haiti secure a US$150 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China, a government-funded bank that offers credit insurance for foreign investments originating in Taiwan, to pay for the project.
Once the deal is signed, the project would officially begin, Yui added.
The project is to be the responsibility of Taiwanese firm Overseas Engineering and Construction and could take about two years to complete, he said.
The deal is to help Haiti build new or upgrade existing electrical substations, electricity distribution networks and transmission towers, and help train people who would be responsible for maintaining the grid, the ministry said.
Once the deal is sealed, it would become the first project launched with an ally under the Official Development Assistance (ODA) program, which is designed to help nations develop their infrastructure while also getting business for Taiwanese contractors, the ministry said.
Commenting on the ODA program, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) in May told a legislative session that strategic loans to diplomatic allies are designed to create “win-win-win situations” and do not represent a return to checkbook diplomacy to compete with China for those allies’ allegiance.
Taiwan is no match for Beijing and has no intention of competing with it in offering astronomical sums to lure allies, he said.
“We are not competing with China over allies with financial aid. We are genuinely offering them help,” he said.
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