The Clinton Foundation, under the leadership of President Clinton, has dedicated years of work to promoting economic development and recovery in Haiti. President Clinton has been actively engaged with Haiti for over 20 years – as President, as U.N. Special Envoy (2009-2012), as co-chairman of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (2010-2013) and through the work of the Clinton Foundation.
After the 2010 earthquake, the public sector and infrastructure of Haiti were decimated. President Clinton was asked by the Haitian Government to step in to help lead the effort to make the world aware of the critical needs facing the country and to encourage the public and private sectors to assist with relief efforts. He agreed to co-chair the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) along with the Haitian Prime Minister – a commission intended to help fill the void.
Recently, a piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal in which the columnist falsely claimed the IHRC mismanaged funds. The opinion piece lacked specific facts and demonstrated a basic misunderstanding of the role of the IHRC. Here are a few important facts:
The IHRC did not disburse funding for recovery projects. The role of the IHRC was clear – to create a system where proposed recovery projects could be assessed and prioritized by the Haitian public sector, donors, and international community. The IHRC did not have a role in awarding contracts or disbursing money to these projects, but rather it approved projects to send to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF) for consideration. This role was critical, with the Haitian public sector ravaged by an earthquake and unable to assess and prioritize the reconstruction on its own.
The Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF) made decisions on funding recovery projects. The HRF is an entity chaired by Haiti’s Minister of Finance and administered by the World Bank. The HRF made decisions on how to fund projects, along with partner entities – including the World Bank, United Nations, and Inter-American Development Bank. If a project was approved, one of these three entities worked with the project’s organizers.
All decisions about recovery efforts were made in a totally public and transparent manner. The funding decisions that were made by the HRF were done in a fully transparent manner that included a public audit of the decision-making process. The IHRC meetings in which decisions were made on recommended projects were open to press.
The Clinton Foundation’s work has had a remarkable impact on the people of Haiti:
The Foundation has raised a total of more than $30 million* for Haiti, for both relief efforts and for economic growth and recovery.
The Clinton Foundation facilitated millions of dollars in grants – to rebuild the University of Haiti’s Faculte des Sciences campus, revitalize urban areas, and provide resources for smallholder farmers.
To help spur investment in Haiti, President Clinton and his team have helped facilitate visits to the country from more than 100 investors and donors, including hoteliers, energy company executives, and investors in the agricultural sector.
President Clinton has helped convene investors to drive development in markets that will create further economic growth in Haiti. In November 2011, the Clinton Foundation co-hosted the second Haiti Investors Conference with the Government of Haiti and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). More than 1,100 Haitian and international investors registered, with 479 international attendees representing 32 countries.
Members of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) have made over 100 commitments to Haiti, worth over half a billion dollars.
President Clinton’s recent efforts to promote economic development also pre-date the earthquake. In October of 2009, the Clinton Foundation co-hosted with the IDB an investor conference in Haiti that attracted over 600 business people representing more than 30 countries interested in investing in Haiti.
The Clinton Foundation maintains an active presence in Haiti to this day. Three months ago, President Clinton visited several projects in Haiti with entrepreneurs who were interested in serving as new buyers for the goods produced by these projects. Just two months ago, the Clinton Global Initiative’s Haiti Action Network hosted a convening of CGI members dedicated to helping Haiti rebuild that was attended by over 70 representatives of corporations, non-profits, and multilateral organizations.
There is still much work to be done in Haiti. President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation are committed to continuing our efforts to help build a strong and prosperous future for Haiti.
*A previous version of this blog post noted a different value for the amount raised for relief efforts and for economic growth and recovery.