July 25, 2006

Donor nations pledge $750 million for Haiti

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - International donors
pledged $750 million on Tuesday to help fund impoverished
Haiti's economic recovery efforts for the next fiscal year.

Delegates from about 40 nations and financial institutions
gathered in Port-au-Prince for a conference aimed at helping
the turbulent and destitute Caribbean nation build social and
economic stability.

Haiti's government had asked for $540 million in immediate
donations as part of an overall request for $7 billion to pay
for long-term efforts to improve security, build roads, improve
health and agriculture and promote institutional reform in the
poorest nation in the Americas.

The pledges for short-term funding were expected to clear
the way for the newly elected government of President Rene
Preval to submit a budget to parliament.

The donor community pledged $1.3 billion in 2004 to help
Haiti rebuild after an armed rebellion toppled the government
of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but the interim government
that replaced Aristide complained that less than half that
amount had actually been disbursed.

Participants in this week's meeting included delegates from
the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the
European Union and the U.S. Agency for International
Development. They planned to meet again in November in Madrid
to consider long-term funding for Haiti.