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Haiti's recovery won't happen overnight - USAID

Published:Sunday | January 12, 2014 | 10:21 AM

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Jan 11, CMC - Four years after Haiti was struck by a powerful earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and damaged most of the country’s infrastructure, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says the impoverished, French-speaking Caribbean country’s recovery “won’t happen overnight”.



USAID mission director to Haiti, John Groarke, said in a statement on Saturday that USAID was “striving to build the capacity of local organizations to lead and manage development initiatives.



“This necessarily involves building public and private institutions so Haitians can lead and manage their own development.



“On our part, we are enhancing the capacity of the Ministry of Health to manage a national healthcare system using its own human and financial resources, so it will no longer be dependent on donors,” he added.



Similarly, Groarke said efforts were underway to build the financial and programmatic capacity of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) “to provide services and advocacy that are too often provided by international organizations”



The mission director also urged the Haitian government to advance the rule of law, a prerequisite to the creation of durable institutions and economic growth.



Groarke said every USAID mission director’s goal was to help the host country one day reach a point when it no longer needs foreign economic assistance.



“Indeed, all donors and development organizations should be devoted to that goal, In Haiti, this will not happen overnight.”



Hover he said four years after the massive earthquake, “Haiti remains a US government priority to continue and improve our efforts to help Haitians building the opportunity and prosperity they are capable of and that they are so deserving”.



Groarke noted that 89 per cent of Haiti’s 1.5 million internally displaced persons have left the tent camps for alternative housing options, and that almost 75 per cent has been removed.



He said security throughout the country has improved and recognizing the importance of employment, the government is committed to attracting foreign investment, with agriculture, tourism and the apparel industry the most promising growth areas.



In addition, Groarke said health indicators are up, with improvements in infant and child mortality rates and more public access to health services.



Groarke also said international donors, among them USAID, “have learned lessons along the way in Haiti in terms of how we can do better”.



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