Facilitating development in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank provides around US$ 10 billion each year to back some 300 projects in the region. Some US$ 700 million of this funding is managed by Philippe Dewez, IDB Representative to Haiti.
“The bulk of our operations are aimed at promoting Haiti’s economic recovery, including basic infrastructure, agriculture (irrigation and production intensification), water and sanitation (focusing on secondary cities and rural communities) and electricity (improving distribution in Port-au-Prince, and, in the near future, upgrading the Peligre hydro plant),” said Dewez who leads a team of 22 IDB specialists who are tasked to work with the Haitian government in designing and executing development projects.
In his latest project for Haiti, Dewez was in charge of designing and developing a road project linking the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, with the southern provinces. The Canadian government allocated about US$ 15.4 million to the said initiative.
“Investing in transportation infrastructure is tremendously important for Haiti, not only because roads link areas that are virtually isolated from the rest of the country but because these projects generate jobs wherever they are carried out,” Dewez explained.
The project seeks to lessen traffic congestion in Carrefour by resurfacing main roads and local streets, building a new bus terminal and improving drainage and safety measures for pedestrians. The US$ 15.4 million funding is part of the bank’s four-year grant worth US$ 100 million to improve rural roads in the country.
With such massive and extensive programs, “the biggest challenge is to ensure that projects are executed efficiently, avoiding waste and corruption, and achieving the biggest development impact possible, particularly in terms of people’s living standards,” the IDB representative revealed.
In his 20 years with the bank, Dewez has mostly performed field work. He previously led IDB country offices in Bolivia, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Prior to joining the bank, Dewez worked for the office of the Belgian foreign aid agency in Bolivia and Guinea.
He holds a degree in civil engineering and a master’s in industrial management.
For Dewez, the greatest reward comes from projects which are able to deliver the desired impacts in the most efficient way. In the future, he hopes “to carry out as many useful projects as possible in developing countries.”