The International Monetary Fund’s executive board has approved a $102-million loan to help Haiti rebuild after this month’s devastating earthquake.
Combined with payouts from an existing loan programme, the IMF said Wednesday it would transfer a total of $114 million to Haiti’s government by the end of this week, marking the largest handover of funds since the magnitude-7 earthquake struck Jan 12.
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the transfer would provide Haiti with “urgently needed cash resources” that would allow it to acquire emergency imports to help those who survived.
The IMF has been under fire along with other creditors for offering Haiti loans instead of grants and refusing to cancel Haiti’s debt. The IMF said Haiti would not have to start paying back the loan for five and a half years.
Strauss-Kahn lamented that the earthquake had destroyed Haiti’s economy just as it was beginning to show signs of improvement. He noted that, at nearly three percent, Haiti had the second-highest growth rate in the Western Hemisphere in 2009.
“Aside from the human tragedy, this disaster represents a major setback for the Haitian economy, following several years of progress in maintaining macroeconomic stability, resuming growth, and implementing essential structural reforms,” Strauss-Kahn said.
The Jan 12 earthquake killed at least 150,000 people and left much of the impoverished Caribbean country in ruins.