Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Four years later, USAID funds in Haiti still unaccounted for

WASHINGTON - As the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti passed Jan. 12, development analysts are decrying an ongoing lack of transparency in U.S. foreign aid to the country, even as those assistance streams are drying up.

From what is known of U.S. post-earthquake funding to Haiti, it appears that a notably small proportion of money from USAID, the county’s main foreign aid arm, is going directly to local Haitian businesses, institutions and organizations.

“Sixty percent [of USAID funds] goes to firms operating inside the beltway, disappearing in a black box,” Jake Johnson of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank, told IPS. “That makes it very hard to determine how and when the funds reach the ground.”

Even though the United States offered $3 billion in aid for Haiti after the earthquake, less than one percent of the $1.3 billion in obligated USAID funds—money designated specifically for Haitian recovery efforts—has gone directly to local Haitian groups.

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