WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 14 -- The International
Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed an agreement with the Government of
Haiti under which IFC will act as an advisor for the privatization of nine
IFC will be involved in evaluating the enterprises' potential for privatization
and in implementing the government's asset democratization program, under
which blocks of shares will be reserved for special groups of the Haitian
population, such as the victims of the previous regime and their families.
The United States Agency for International Development is providing the
bulk of the funding for this work.
"This program entails a massive shift in the control of productive
and service assets and indicates the government's commitment to democratizing
and modernizing the economy," according to Mr. Philippe Liétard, Director
of IFC's Corporate Finance Services Department. "This is the surest
way to convey to the international investment community the clear signal
that Haiti is now re-opened for business."
In the first phase of the program, teams of IFC personnel and outside experts
will examine the business fundamentals of each of the enterprises and perform
company valuations. The second phase will involve the actual sale of the
enterprises, either as going concerns or as asset divestitures.
The government hopes to use the privatization program to attract foreign
investors to Haiti. Proceeds from the sales will be used to improve environmental
infrastructure and social services in rural areas, including schools and
hospitals, and to fund underfunded pension programs.
The state-owned enterprises to be evaluated for possible privatization
are Electricité d'Haiti (power); Teleco (telecommunications); the Autorité
Portuaire Nationale and Autorité Aéroportuaire Nationale (transport); the
Banque Nationale du Crédit and Banque Populaire d'Haiti (finance); Ciment
d'Haiti (construction); and La Minoterie d'Haiti and Enterprise Nationale
des Oléagineux (agribusiness). Work on the cement, port, and power projects
is already underway.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest multilateral
source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing
countries. IFC also provides advisory assistance to governments for privatization.