U.S. lawmakers pass law promoting transparency in Haiti's reconstruction

The 7.0M earthquake that hit the capital of Haiti in January 2010 killed thousands of people and left millions of other people homeless. It resulted in massive destruction of infrastructure in the country which led the United States Government to pledge to help Haiti rebuild itself. Five years later, the project has been faced with some drawbacks some of which include a lack of transparency in how the funds are being used.


Recently, the US Congress passed a law that would shed light and show how these funds were being used in reconstructing Haiti. This move was pushed by Bill Nelson, a US senator, who was concerned about the lack of transparency in projects sponsored by the US government and the slow disbursement of aid in Haiti. Known as "The Assessing Progress in Haiti Act of 2014" requires a report to be submitted to the Congress by the US Secretary of State. The report should be a status report on the recovery as well as the development projects that are funded by the US government on or before 31st of December 2014 and subsequently annually until 21st December 2017.

Many members of the international communities, including the US, pledged to give over $10 billion within 10 years after the earthquake. These pledges, however, are yet to become a reality since it has taken time to materialize. The US Government's Accountability Office (GAO) observed that the US Agency for International Development had dished out only 31% of the funds for reconstruction in Haiti as at 30th June 2013. When asked to explain, the GAO said that the Congress was not given enough information to ensure effective oversight of the projects.

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