From 2010 to 2020, the U.S. Agency for International Development gave $2 billion to Haiti to aid with reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake, but rampant mismanagement bungled the response, causing those funds to be largely ineffective, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office found.
After the devastating 2010 earthquake, the U.S. had ambitious plans to help Haiti rebuild homes, infrastructure, and cities, pledging $2 billion of aid over a 10-year period. Unfortunately, poor planning and project management severely limited its impact, with the GAO finding, “most projects were delayed, cost more than planned, or had to be scaled back.”
Only half of its eight planned major infrastructure projects have been completed, with two still in progress, and two scrapped due to higher than anticipated costs. In addition, USAID planned to build 4,000 homes, but after 10 years, only 906 houses have been built thanks to high costs.
The reason for these subpar results is a combination of unrealistic expectations, project mismanagement, and lack of planning and oversight.
The GAO noted, “gaps in strategic planning and tracking and assessing the results of these activities, affecting management and oversight.” For future projects, it plainly recommends that USAID “use sound technical information and expertise, like accurate cost estimates, in future strategic infrastructure plans.”
While wasting tax dollars due to inefficiency and ineptitude is always disappointing, its even sadder when people in need suffer as a result because of poor planning and lack of basic oversight.
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