IMF and Haiti Begin Talks on New Economic Program

Press Release 06/132
June 16, 2006

Mr. Anoop Singh, Director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Port-au-Prince:

"I am delighted to have had the opportunity of visiting Haiti for the first time. I have had the privilege of meeting President René Garcia Préval, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, Economy and Finance Minister Daniel Dorsainvil, Vice-Governor of the Central Bank of Haiti, Philippe Lahens, and other members of the economic team. Tomorrow, I will also meet with a wide spectrum of civil society representatives, the private sector, NGOs, clergy and the academic community.

"President Préval has emphasized to me his government's commitment to economic reforms that would ensure rising prosperity for all Haitians, building on the political opening afforded by the recent election process. I congratulated the President on the smooth transition to a newly elected government with broad participation from the political spectrum. Haiti faces a unique historical opportunity to fully normalize its political and economic situation and I conveyed the IMF's determination to assist in the process to the fullest extent feasible under our mandate. In this context, a staff team lead by Mr. Przemek Gajdeczka will start discussions next week with the government on a medium-term economic program that we hope to support under the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).

"The economic team has already developed a vision for the medium-term economic program. They intend to firmly maintain, and entrench, the macroeconomic stability that has been painstakingly built over the recent period under the IMF's Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance. Structural reforms, including raising and better targeting social spending, strengthening economic governance, and improving the investment environment, will aim at creating conditions for a higher rate of economic growth and reducing Haiti's high poverty—that will be a particular focus of the program.

"A PRGF would also be a key step for Haiti in qualifying for debt forgiveness under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and, more generally, catalyzing economic support from the wider international community. We hope that the PRGF program could be finalized this year.

"Haiti's performance under the IMF's Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance, approved in October 2005 has been broadly satisfactory (see Press Release No. 05/234). Macroeconomic indicators have strengthened and progress has been made in implementing key structural reforms. Net international reserves have increased substantially and the gourde has been broadly stable."



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