Output from the 54MW plant is currently half of its potential due to the age of the equipment and reservoir sedimentation reducing the volume of water available for hydro power. The plant was built in the early 1970s and over recent years has contributed approximately half of the electricity distributed by state-owned utility Electricite d’Haiti (EDH).

The five-year long US$40M rehabilitation programme will be in three phases – one for each of the plant’s three turbines. Back in December last year, IDB approved a grant of US$12.5M for the first phase, with the last phase expected to be funded by the OPEC Fund for International Development.

The $120M grant announced earlier this week was described by IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno as a vote of confidence in the Haitian public sector, which has shown a growing capacity to put aid pledges into action. The funds are a marked increase in resources being made available to the country – in 2009 the Bank allocated $100M in funds, with $50M allocated in the two years previous.

The IDB is currently financing 22 projects in Haiti, with a total budget of $675M. The portfolio of loans and grants is largely focused on infrastructure, agriculture, water and sanitation, electricity, education, vocational training and state modernisation.