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IFC TO ASSIST PRIVATIZATION IN HAITI


Mauricio Perea
(202) 473-7997


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 state-owned enterprises.

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.