The U.S. Agency for International Development welcomes the U.S. Congress’s new attempt to assert greater oversight of assistance and reconstruction programs in Haiti.
The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act of 2014 passed by unanimous vote in the House on Friday and is now pending U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature to become law. If passed, the act would require the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an annual report “on the status of post-earthquake recovery and development efforts in Haiti.” Among the reporting requirements will be amounts “committed, obligated and expended” on programs at both the prime and subprime awardee levels for all awards greater than $25,000.
“Generally we do not comment on pending legislation, but it is important to note in this instance that USAID welcomes independent audits and evaluations of development assistance that complement our own results-driven monitoring and evaluation efforts,” Matthew Herrick, an agency spokesperson, explained in a written comment to Devex.
The act would also require the Secretary of State to send Congress a “three-year Haiti strategy based on rigorous assessments” within 180 days of its law’s enactment. That strategy, according to the bill — which has now passed through both legislative chambers — should focus on the Haitian government’s efforts in certain priority areas.
Among those are names corruption, rule of law, port capacity, the civilian police force and sustainable housing — as well as more private sector investments, including in the Caracol Industrial Park, a $300 million project partially supported by the U.S. government that has sputtered.
The bill does not explicitly name poverty reduction as one of the central strategic concerns the U.S. government should help address in the country, despite the fact that 58 percent of Haitians live in poverty and roughly a quarter in extreme poverty, according to data from the United Nations.
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