Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille met with OPIC President Elizabeth Littlefield and other members of OPIC’s senior staff on February 9 to discuss the challenges of Haiti’s reconstruction and the prospects for new development. Conille (pictured) and his delegation were in Washington to explore ways in which the United States could contribute to Haiti’s reconstruction efforts in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake.
OPIC has a long history of supporting development in Haiti and has more recently supported projects focused on post-earthquake reconstruction. The agency provided political risk insurance to support the reconstruction of Les Moulins d’Haiti (LMH), an integrated flour mill and animal feed facility that was destroyed in the earthquake. The reconstruction, a joint venture of Seaboard Corp. Continental Grain Company, Unibank and the Government of Haiti, incorporated modern equipment and was designed for additional seismic loading. The mill, which reopened in December 2011, It will help increase food security in Haiti and will also create local jobs.
OPIC is also – together with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, and USAID – providing $26 million in combined debt financing and grant funding for a program that will make home and business loans available to the economically active poor and low-income earning Haitians. This project was designed to encourage Haitian banks to extend longer-term financing than is currently available in the Haitian market, and to enable Haitian banks and micro-finance institutions to provide affordable home loans, micro-mortgage loans, and home and business repair loans to approximately 18,000 people who continue to live in tents and other temporary housing after losing their homes in the earthquake.
OPIC has, over its 40-year history, invested more than $223 million in some 78 projects in Haiti, in infrastructure, renewable resources and other sectors.
During his Feb. 9 visit, Prime Minister Conille said that, in addition to rebuilding after the earthquake, the country saw new development opportunities in the tourism and energy sectors.