PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The Haitian government has launched a multimillion dollar action plan to reduce extreme poverty in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, where most people live on less than $2 per day.
The plan, which will foster investments in several social sectors, will cost nearly $800 million over a three-year period and most of the money will be channeled through the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education.
Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said the plan, launched last week, will help better coordinate actions by ministerial departments and institutions, NGOs and international donors to reach more the most vulnerable citizens effectively.
“There are international organizations and donors, such as the World Bank, that are intervening, but there was a lack of coordination in the different actions being undertaken,” Lamothe told HCNN on Tuesday.
“Now we have a common strategy through which we want to put everyone together behind one plan, which is the Action Plan for the Reduction of Poverty in Haiti,” said Lamothe.
He explained that the plan is part of the country’s efforts to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of reducing poverty and improving education, among others.
About two years ago, the government set up an ambitious social assistance program that has already reached several million people through cash transfers to poor families, hot meals, community restaurants, food kits, tuition-free education for poor kids, among other initiatives.
The program is mainly funded by the Venezuelan-sponsored PetroCaribe oil deal, which allows the Haitian government to pay upfront only 40 percent of its fuel costs, while the balance is payable over 25 years with the preferential interest rate of about 1 percent.
The new plan will help international donors, NGOs and government institutions use more effectively funds destined to support social sectors, particularly to avoid duplications in the implementation of projects, while following the poverty map determined by Haitian authorities.
Lamothe said his government is determined to combat inequalities and to ensure social justice for so many who are living in poverty.
“It is unacceptable that people live in such poverty and we can change this reality if we join our forces together,” he said.
“We need more social justice to lift up the most vulnerable out of extreme poverty,” Lamothe insisted. “We can fight this fight and united we will come on top.”