Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Development bank plans Haiti donor conference

AP , WASHINGTON

More than 30 donor countries and international organizations were to consider ways to build on signs of recovery in Haiti at a conference in Washington yesterday.

The conference — sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank — will consider a two-year economic recovery plan developed by the government of Haitian Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis, bank spokesman Pablo Bachelet said.

The plan emerged after Haiti — the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — uncharacteristically enjoyed three consecutive years of economic growth and improved stability.

That growth was interrupted last year, however, by four major tropical storms and spikes in food and fuel prices.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group, a conflict watchdog, warned last month that deepening poverty and ineffective governance left Haiti at risk for renewed violence and political instability.

The group urged international donors to provide US$3 billion over the next several years to revitalize Haiti’s economy, reduce vulnerability to natural disasters and maintain access to basic services, among other things.

In addition to regular donor countries, Bachelet said, “nontraditional donors,” such as countries in the Persian Gulf area, are expected to attend.

Many of those invited already are working in Haiti, but Bachelet said the conference aimed to ensure projects “align more forcefully with the country’s priorities as outlined in the two-year plan.”

Among those attending the conference are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and representatives of countries including Canada, France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

Former US president Bill Clinton, representing his personal foundation, and billionaire philanthropist George Soros, representing his Open Society Institute, will also attend the conference.

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