Haiti leader launches power program

Jan 23, 2012, 11:30 PM

Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Haiti’s president said Monday he hopes to double the number of rural households that receive electricity within two years by offering people small loans to buy solar kits.

The announcement by President Michel Martelly is part of a $45 million-plus energy package that aims to introduce electricity to thousands of people in this impoverished nation who otherwise illuminate their homes by candlelight.

The program, dubbed “Give me light, give me life,” seeks to build credit for rural Haitians as they take out loans to purchase small solar kits for charging their cell phones or computers. It also aims to line streets with light posts in the countryside and repair power lines in poor neighborhoods in the capital.

“If a country wants to talk about development it’s imperative to talk about energy and electricity,” Martelly said at a news conference at a hotel in downtown Port-au-Prince.

The need for energy in Haiti is critical to the reconstruction of Haiti as the Caribbean country struggles to recover from a massive earthquake two years ago that devastated much of the southern half and initially displaced 1.5 million people.

The 40-year-old state-run Electricity of Haiti can only power 200,000 homes, Martelly said, and only 30 percent of the population in this country of 10 million has access to a power supply. Even then, most parts of Haiti only have electricity for a few hours a day, forcing many businesses and some homes to rely on generators and expensive fuel imports.

The new program will call on smaller Haitian banks to issue $30 million in loans with an interest rate of 7 percent, payable over seven years. The credit will help families purchase solar kits that will each cost between $250 and $350.

The families in question live in two of the most remote corners of the country _ the Grand-Anse, the mountainous tip of the western peninsula, and the Northwest province.

In the end, the program seeks to give a power supply to 200,000 households within two years before moving onto the rest of Haiti, Martelly said.

“We feel they have less access than the rest of the country,” said Rene Jean-Jumeau, Secretary of State of Energy.

Another part of the program, budgeted for $15 million, will give the government loans so that mayors in the countryside can line 375 kilometers (233 miles) of streets with lamps. It will begin in three years.

The government project will also focus on urban areas. It will repair street lights and electric posts in 10 popular neighborhoods with $300,000 from the national treasury.

The program joins other efforts to boost energy production in Haiti.

The Inter-American Development Bank last month announced that it had approved a $20 million grant to help refurbish Haiti’s Peligre hydroelectric plant, the country’s largest renewable energy generation facility.

(This version CORRECTS total amount for project and street lamp portion)

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
21 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
22 days ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
22 days ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
28 days ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.