Haitians pass a destroyed building in Port-au-Prince
Washington - Arab Today
The International Monetary Fund announced Wednesday a new aid program for Haiti to help the impoverished Caribbean country to continue its recovery from the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The IMF executive board approved Monday a $69.7 million three-year lifeline under its Extended Credit Facility for poor countries, the global crisis lender said in a statement.
The first $10 million of the program was immediately disbursed and subsequent installments will be phased in, subject to semi-annual program reviews.
The January 12, 2010 earthquake killed more than 250,000 in Haiti and destroyed infrastructure across the country, where 70 percent are unemployed.
In July 2010, the IMF extended $60 million in financial aid under an ECF and erased $268 million of its debt. That program ended last December.
"While per capita growth has been positive, it has been insufficient to significantly reduce poverty," the IMF said.
It said fiscal and external deficits have climbed to "high levels" and progress on structural reform was limited "due partly to a difficult socio-political environment."
"Haiti's pursuit of macroeconomic stability in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake is commendable -- growth has been positive, inflation has remained moderate, and international reserve levels adequate," the IMF's deputy managing director, Min Zhu, said in the statement.
"Going forward, continued efforts are needed to support sustained and inclusive growth, strengthen institutions and the policy framework, and maintain adequate buffers to absorb shocks."