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Rebuilding

Clinton: Haiti Must Be Self-Sufficient

Former President Bill Clinton called on donors to work toward making Haiti self-sufficient, ahead of a United Nations charity conference set for Wednesday. The country needs $11.2 billion to recover from the January 12 earthquake that leveled much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, but Clinton says the focus of the reconstruction efforts must be on putting Haitians in charge. "Every time we spend a dollar in Haiti from now on," Clinton said, "we have to ask ourselves, 'Does this have a long-term return? Are we helping them become more self-sufficient?... Are we serious about working ourselves out of a job?'" Leaders of both the charities U.N. Foundation and Oxfam concur: "Our big message is that this has to be a Haitian-led reconstruction, not just the government; involving civil society is key to making this a successful reconstruction," an Oxfam official said. Polls show Haitians themselves are largely distrustful of both government and aid groups' reconstruction efforts. They fear corruption and waste, and point to the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti, which is in charge of the master plan to rebuild the nation, yet comprises more foreigners than Haitians.

March 30, 2010 3:12 PM