WASHINGTON – The World Bank has approved a US$20 million grant for the Haiti COVID-19 Response and Resilience Development Policy Operation.
The Washington-based financial institution said the funds from its International Development Association (IDA) aims to increase Haiti’s capacity to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and enhance resilience to natural hazards and health-related shocks.
World Bank Country Director for Haiti, Anabela Abreu, said “the downturn in the economy caused by the spread of COVID-19 will pose a setback for poverty reduction and inclusive growth in Haiti.
“This operation supports key policy reforms to reduce the negative economic and social impacts on the most vulnerable. A stronger institutional framework will also increase resilience to future disasters, which is particularly important given the country’s high exposure to hurricanes and other natural hazards,’ she added.
The World Bank noted that the government of Haiti has declared a state of emergency since March 19, announcing early actions including containment measures and a social protection program to mitigate the impact on poor and vulnerable households.
The financial institution said the challenges are further compounded with the approaching hurricane season “as Haiti remains highly vulnerable to natural hazards.”
The Haiti COVID-19 Response and Resilience Development Policy Operation supports health emergency preparedness and response capacity and the strengthening of the social protection system for improved emergency cash transfer programmes.
The World Bank said additional actions include the operationalization of the National Disaster Risk Management System (SNGRD) and the new Civil Protection General Directorate (DGPC), together with the development of a National Disaster Risk Financing Strategy.
It said this operation is part of a broader package of support from the international financial institution that includes the US$20 million Haiti COVID-19 Response Project, focused on efforts in the health sector to limit the transmission of COVID-19 through detection and infection control.
Ongoing projects have provided rapid financing for priorities such as food security under the Haiti Resilient Productive Landscape Project, and social protection using cash transfers under the Municipal Development and Urban Resilience Project, the World Bank said.