The World Bank is allocating $255 million for Haiti's post-earthquake reconstruction over the next 12 months, including support for agriculture, education, and disaster risk management, the bank announced.
The announcement of the grants came in the same week as President Michel Martelly's government hosted hundreds of foreign investors and declared itself ``open for business'' in an ambitious strategy to boost rebuilding of the Western Hemisphere's poorest economy after last year's earthquake.
Projects approved by the bank's board of directors included an Education for All initiative that will support reconstruction of Haiti's education system, which suffered heavy damage and lost teaching personnel in the quake. The program will benefit more than 100,000 Haitian children.
Another project will help the country improve its disaster response capacity and strengthen critical transport infrastructure, while a third seeks to increase productivity and competitiveness in agriculture, which contributes 25 percent of GDP and accounts for 50 percent of all employment.
The strategy would also support the return of 22,500 people to safe housing, out of around half a million homeless quake victims still living in vulnerable tent and tarpaulin camps.
Worries about ``donor fatigue'' and lingering concerns about political stability have raised questions about how effectively Martelly can maintain international financial backing for Haiti at a time of shrinking aid budgets in major donor countries now increasingly preoccupied with a widening debt crisis.
World Bank Special Envoy to Haiti Alexandre Abrantes was confident international support for Haiti would be sustained.
``You don't have the momentum that you had a year ago, but you still have an opportunity,'' Abrantes told Reuters in an interview before the latest grants allocation announcement.
Additional World Bank grants of $275 million would be available for use in Haiti from the end 2012 up to 2014.
Abrantes played down fears that the disappearance in October of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), an aid coordination panel that brought together donors and the Haitian government, might impact the effective delivery of funds.
Haiti's parliament did not renew the IHRC's mandate following criticism that the panel was too foreign-dominated.