Port-au-Prince - At the second board meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), co-chaired by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and President Bill Clinton, the United States Government presented a program that will be implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to repair and rehabilitate at least five priority energy substations. This investment, which was approved by the board of the IHRC, is part of the larger USG strategy to help improve and modernize Haiti's electricity sector and bring affordable and reliable power to a greater number of households and businesses. The United States Government (USG) is working closely with the Government of Haiti, its ministries and the IHRC, to ensure that each project meets Haiti's rebuilding priorities.
"The United States is proud to present this important first investment in energy, to the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission," said Counselor Cheryl D. Mills, United States Government's representative to the IHRC. "This investment underscores the continued commitment of President Obama and the United States Government to working with the Government and people of Haiti so that their vision of better, more prosperous nation becomes reality."
Also at the meeting, the United States, together with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Hansoll Textile LTD (Korea), and the Inter-American Development Bank announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the parties agreed to work towards the development of a globally competitive industrial park in the Northern part of Haiti. The MOU is consistent with the Government of Haiti's National Action Plan and its prioritization of new growth poles, as well as its goal of increasing private sector jobs.
"We are pleased to be a party to this Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Hansoll Textile, and the Inter-American Development Bank," said U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten. "A competitive industrial park will not only enable the creation of jobs, but also allow Haiti to maximize the benefits of the HELP Act trade preferences with the United States."
Since March 2009, the United States Government has been reviewing its investments in Haiti and has worked on a plan to ensure that each dollar spent has the greatest impact on the lives of Haitians. After the January 12 earthquake, the USG held in-depth consultation meetings with the Government of Haiti and other donors to re-assess how its investments could be most impactful in helping Haiti build back better. The United States will focus investments in four areas: health systems; agricultural systems and food security; infrastructure, housing and energy; and security, governance and rule of law. Investments in health and agriculture will be part of the USG's Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future programs. At the Haiti Donor Conference on March 31, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged $1.15 billion on behalf of the United States towards Haiti's rebuilding and reconstruction efforts. In so doing, Secretary Clinton made clear that the USG's investments would align with the Government of Haiti's rebuilding plan and sequenced priorities.
Working with the Government of Haiti, the United States has identified the energy sector as one of its primary areas of investment. Less than 30% of Haitians had access to electricity before the earthquake and of that 30%, many had electricity for less than 10 hours a day. To meet the Haiti Action Plan's call to "improve technical and commercial efficiency" in electrification, through this project, the USG will invest $8 million over the course of 18 months to rehabilitate and repair at least five priority substations in Port-au-Prince. The Electricite d'Haiti (EDH) is working closely with the USG to identify the priority sites. A team of senior engineers hired by the USG has provided a detailed assessment of rehabilitation needs for substations in the greater Port-au-Prince area and determined a priority list. This project is the first phase of a larger plan that the USG is developing with the Government of Haiti to modernize the energy sector.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.