The aim of the audit released in late February by USAID’s Office of the Inspector General was to see whether a USAID loan program was indeed introducing lending practices to overlooked areas and borrowers, particularly in the areas of agriculture, construction, tourism, handicrafts and waste management. Most of the loans were supposed to go toward women, first-time borrowers and small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The USAID office in Haiti had seven active guarantees worth $37.5 million as of last year. The audit focused on the four largest, worth $31.5 million, two of which were awarded after the devastating earthquake in 2010.
They were a Haitian bank named Sogebank, a Haitian development finance institution named Sofihdes that USAID helped create in 1983 and an agriculture-focused outfit named Le Levier Federation.
The audit found that few women and first-time borrowers received loans and lenders didn’t make much effort to work with them.
Loans were supposed to go to three “development corridors” identified by the U.S. government as part of its earthquake reconstruction strategy but few did. Instead they stayed in the Port-au-Prince area. via – Salon.com