Two and a half months after the Haiti earthquake, daily life is resuming with the help of international aid.
But Haitians want to move on and this week, at a meeting of donors in New York, there is a chance to agree a blueprint for the stricken country’s future.
Haiti needs around 11.5 billion dollars over the next two decades. Wednesday should see the first slice of it signed over, to cover the needs of the next 18 months. The government has also asked for an emergency 350 million to maintain public services.
Proposals include an urgent decentralisation strategy to create jobs and wealth outside the capital which has, so far, monopolised national economic life.
But some locals believe that, although there might be money from the donors, those who need it will not get it.
That deep pessimism is widespread among a population accustomed to seeing the country’s resources controlled by a small elite.
One man, whose barber shop was destroyed in the quake, said he did not think that Haitians can govern. He thought Haiti should become a foreign protectorate. “If Haitians govern the country, everything will turn out bad,” he said.
But there will not be a foreign protectorate. Donors want Haiti’s government to direct the reconstruction. However, having learnt lessons from the past, monitoring mechanisms are to be included in plans to finance the rebuilding of Haiti.