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Clinton-Bush fund backs mortgages for Haitians

Published:Friday | March 25, 2011 | 12:00 AM

The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund (CBHF) said on Wednesday that it would provide US$3 million of the US$47 million of financing for affordable home mortgages for Haitian citizens for the first time in the impoverished, French-speaking Caribbean country's history.

The programme will also offer repair loans to low-income Haitians and small businesses affected by the earthquake.

"Mortgages have never before been widely available in Haiti, where more than a half a million people who lost their homes in the earthquake continue to live in tents and other temporary housing," the CBHF said in a statement.

The plan has been approved last week by the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.

The IHRC was created in the wake of Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake and is responsible for reviewing and approving projects funded by bilateral and multilateral donors, NGOs, and the private sector.

The mortgage programme is also backed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), with a commitment of US$34 million and the Haiti Reconstruction Fund with US$10 million.

OPIC's board is expected to sign off on funding this June, once implementation details are set.

"Together, this US$47-million programme will ultimately provide Haitian banks, microfinance institutions, and lenders with liquidity to make home loans, home repair loans, and micro-mortgage loans," the Clinton-Bush fund said.

The programme is said to be modelled off similar efforts that have proved successful in other parts of the developing world.

"What Haiti needs today are smart investments that will create economic opportunities and lay the groundwork for long-term, sustainable growth," said CBHF chief executive officer Gary Edson.

"By providing funding for programmes such as this, we're making it possible for ordinary Haitians to own their own home as well as their own future success and prosperity."

The Clinton-Bush fund is a non-profit organisation founded after the January 12, 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and left more than one million others homeless.

- CMC