Haitian companies do not benefit much from rehabilitation efforts

Despite providing millions of dollars in aid to the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country following the 2010 earthquake, a new report has found that most of the funds given by the United States made its way back to US-based companies and organisations.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research said only one per cent of the US$1.5 billion pledged went directly to Haitian companies.

"It is possible to track who the primary recipients of USAID funds are, yet on what are these NGOs and contractors spending the money?" the report questioned.

"What percent goes to overhead, to staff, vehicles, housing, etc.? What percent has actually been spent on the ground in Haiti?"

The report also finds that the biggest recipient of U.S. aid after the earthquake was Chemonics International Inc., a for-profit international development company based in Washington, D.C., that has more than 4,800 employees.

Aside from the World Bank and United Nations, Chemonics is the single largest recipient of USAID funds worldwide, having received more than $680 million in fiscal year 2012 alone.

In Haiti, Chemonics has received more than the next three largest recipients since 2010, a total of $196 million, or 17 percent of the total amount.

In Haiti, Chemonics' mandate has involved setting up a temporary structure for Parliament, renovation of public plazas and repair of the country's main courthouse, as well as organizing televised debates for the 2011 presidential election.

USAID has awarded US$27.8 million of the US$1.15 billion to Haitian and Haitian-American firms since the quake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and left more than a million others homeless.