Donors willing; is Haiti able?
Housing remains scarce, traumatized students have no schools to attend and the government is struggling to provide even the most basic of services after half its revenues were wiped out in seconds.
As more than 100 countries prepare to descend on the United Nations Wednesday for the much-anticipated Haiti donors conference, Haiti observers question whether the country's leaders will seize the opportunity to lift the earthquake-ravaged nation out of the economic abyss that has defined it for decades.
"There is a lot of goodwill to give money. That's not the problem," said Ciro De Falco, coordinator of the Inter-American Development Bank's Haiti Task Force. "The real challenge is execution, implementation."
The Washington-based IDB recently became the latest in a string of donors including the United States, to forgive much of Haiti's $1.2 billion in foreign debt after the Jan. 12, 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Concerned that Haiti may not be able to spend all of the $11.5 billion it says it needs over the next 18 months to rebuild -- or that nations may be unwilling to provide as much -- donors have set a target of $3.9 billion.
"I have always said, 'You can put all the money you want into a country, but you are not going to reach sustainable growth until you have all of the appropriate institutions and rules of the game: people can borrow, people can settle disputes, companies are assured they can take out profits," De Falco added. "All of these things need to be put in place in order to have success."
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