The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern side of Hispaniola, which is part of the group of islands known as the Greater Antilles.
One of the distinguishing features of Haiti is that it is a small, densely populated (266.5 persons/km2) and predominantly rural country.
Map of Haiti (Source: CIA, The World Factbook)
In 1998, about 75% of the population lived under the poverty line. Nearly 70% of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming and employs about two-thirds of the economically active force.
The January 2010 earthquake and the multiple hurricanes of late 2008 exacerbated Haiti’s position as the least-developed country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world.
Per capita GDP is under $2 per day, and comparative social and economic indicators continue to decline.
Haiti ranks 146th of 177 countries in the UN's Human Development Index,.
Its major environmental issues include:
- extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel);
- soil erosion; and,
- inadequate supplies of potable water.
Haiti lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes and periodic droughts.
Location: Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic.
Geographic Coordinates: 19 00 N, 72 25 W
Area: 27,750 square km (27,560 sq km of land and 190 sq km of water)
arable land: 28.11%
permanent crops: 11.53%
other: 60.36% (2005)
Land Boundaries: 360 km with the Dominican Republic
Coastline: 1,771 km
Maritime Claims: Territorial sea to 12 nautical miles; contiguous zone to 24 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone to 200 nautical miles; continental shelf to depth of exploitation.
Terrain: Mostly rough and mountainous. The highest point is Chaine de la Selle (2,680 meters).
Climate: Tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds. Strong and irregular rains characterize the tropical humid weather, which are a consequence of the country's mountainous terrain. The average annual precipitation in Haiti is 1,461 millimeters (mm), yet it varies enormously especially with elevation and exposure to the dominant winds.
Topography of the Island of Hispaniola. Haiti coverers the western side of the island and the Dominican Republic the eastern side. Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Ecology and Biodiversity
The Island of Hispaniola is home to a rich mixture of ecoregions and biodiversity. However, Haiti's ecology has been significantly degraded over a sustained period of time and stands in stark contrast to the environmental conditions of the Dominican Republic which occupied the eastern two-thirds of the islands of Hispaniola. It it estimated that only 1.44% of the total original forest coverage remains. Deforestation has led to increased runoff of rain and significant soil degradation. Flooding, particularly when tropical storms or hurricanes occur in the region, has been a recurrent problem exacerbated by deforestation.
1. Hispaniolan moist forests originally occupied more than half (~60%) of the original vegetation on the island of Hispaniola, from the lowlands particularly on the eastern coast of the island (Haiti) to the valleys, plateaus, slopes and foothills of the many mountain ranges, up to an altitude of about 2,100 meters. Less than 200 km2 of unaltered rainforest remains in Haiti.
2. Hispaniolan dry forests
3. Hispaniolan pine forests are located on slopes with shallow soils and higher elevations of the mountain systems. In Haiti, this ecoregion is only represented in parts of the Pic Macaya National Park and the La Visite National Park.
4. Enriquillo wetlands are the remains of an old marine channel that divided the island of Hispaniola into two paleoislands more than 5,000 years ago. The largest lake in this ecoregion, Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic is the largest and most hypersaline lake in all of the Antilles. In Haiti, Saumatre Lagoon (Étang Saumatre or Lago Azuei) is the country's largest lake. It occupies another concavity 10 km west of Lake Enriquillo, separated from it by the Jimaní anticline.
5. Bahamoan-Antillean mangroves/Greater Antilles mangroves cover about 134 km2of Haiti.
Source: World Wildlife Fund
See main article: Protected areas of Haiti
There are two national parks in Haiti:
- Pic Macaya National Park (Parc National Pic Macay) (55 km2); and,
- La Visite National Park (Parc National La Visite) (20 km2).
Government Type: Republic
Capital: Port-au-Prince - 2.143 million (2010)
Administrative divisions: 10 departments (departements, singular - departement):
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Independence Date: 1 January 1804 (from France)
Legal System: civil law system strongly influenced by Napoleonic Code. Haiti accepts compulsory International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction. It is non-party state to the International criminal court (ICCt).
International Environmental Agreements
Haiti is a party to International agreements on: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, and Ozone Layer Protection.
People and Society
Population: 9,801,664 (July 2012 est.)
Ethnic Groups: black 95%, mulatto and white 5%
0-14 years: 35.9% (male 1,748,677/female 1,742,199)
15-64 years: 60.1% (male 2,898,251/female 2,947,272)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 170,584/female 212,949) (2011 est.)
Population Growth Rate: 0.888% (2012 est.)
Note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (2012 est.)
Birthrate: 23.87 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Death Rate: 23.87 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (July 2012 est.)
Net Migration Rate: -6.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Urbanization: 52% of total population (2010) growing at an annual rate of change of 3.9% (2010-15 est.)
Life Expectancy at Birth: 62.17 years
Total Fertility Rate: 3.07 children born/woman (2011 est.)
Languages: French (official), Creole (official)
The 2010 Human Development Index for Haiti is 0.404, which gives Haiti a rank of 145th out of 169 countries with data.
The border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Haiti is to the left and the Dominican Republic is the greener area to the right. Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
The native Taino Amerindians - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Columbus in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years.
The Spaniards used the island of Hispaniola (of which Haiti is the western part and the Dominican Republic the eastern) as a launching point from which to explore the rest of the Western Hemisphere. French buccaneers later used the western third of the island as a point from which to harass English and Spanish ships. In 1697, Spain ceded the western third of Hispaniola to France. As piracy was gradually suppressed, some French adventurers became planters, making Saint Domingue, as the French portion of the island was known, the "pearl of the Antilles"--one of the richest colonies in the 18th-century French empire.
During this period, African slaves were brought to work on sugarcane and coffee plantations. In 1791, the slave population revolted--led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, Jean Jacques Dessalines, and Henri Christophe--and gained control of the northern part of the French colony, waging a war of attrition against the French.
By January 1804, local forces defeated an army sent by Napoleon Bonaparte, established independence from France, and renamed the area Haiti. The impending defeat of the French in Haiti is widely credited with contributing to Napoleon's decision to sell the Louisiana territory to the United States in 1803. Haiti is the world's oldest black republic and the second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States. Although Haiti actively assisted the independence movements of many Latin American countries, the independent nation of former slaves was excluded from the hemisphere's first regional meeting of independent nations, in Panama in 1826, and did not receive U.S. diplomatic recognition until 1862.
Two separate regimes--north and south--emerged after independence but were unified in 1820. Two years later, Haiti occupied Santo Domingo, the eastern, Spanish-speaking part of Hispaniola. In 1844, however, Santo Domingo broke away from Haiti and became the Dominican Republic. With 22 changes of government from 1843 to 1915, Haiti experienced numerous periods of intense political and economic disorder, prompting the United States military intervention of 1915. Following a 19-year occupation, U.S. military forces were withdrawn in 1934, and Haiti regained sovereign rule.
The late 1950s saw the start of the violent and repressive dictatorship of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Elected president in 1957, he declared himself president-for-life in 1964 and ruled until his death in 1971 with the help of his paramilitary force, the Tontons Macoutes. Francois Duvalier was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who also declared himself president-for-life. The Duvaliers’ rule was characterized by repressive state controls, including the lack of basic democratic rights. Faced with economic collapse and a popular uprising, Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France on February 7, 1986. The period immediately after his departure was marked by mob vengeance against members of the Tontons Macoutes. From 1986 to 1990, Haiti was ruled by a series of provisional governments. In March 1987, a constitution was ratified that provided for an elected, bicameral parliament; an elected president as head of state; and a prime minister, cabinet, ministers, and Supreme Court appointed by the president with the parliament's consent. The constitution also provided for political decentralization through the election of mayors and administrative bodies responsible for local government.
In December 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide won 67% of the vote in a presidential election that international observers deemed largely free and fair. Aristide took office on February 7, 1991, but was overthrown that September in a violent coup led by army elements and supported by many of the country's economic elite. The coup contributed to a large-scale exodus of Haitians by boat. From October 1991 to September 1994 a de facto military regime governed Haiti. Several thousand Haitians may have been killed during the de facto military rule. Various Organization of American States (OAS) and United Nations initiatives to end the political crisis through the peaceful restoration of the constitutionally elected government failed. On July 31, 1994, the UN Security Council (UNSC) authorized member states to use all necessary means to facilitate the departure of Haiti's military leadership and to restore Haiti's constitutionally elected government to power. In mid-September, with troops prepared to enter Haiti by force, Gen. Raoul Cedras and other top leaders agreed to accept the intervention of the U.S.-led multinational force. President Aristide and other elected officials in exile returned on October 15.
Nationwide local and parliamentary elections in June 1995 returned a pro-Aristide, multi-party coalition called the Lavalas Political Organization (OPL) to power at all levels. In accordance with the constitutional bar on succeeding himself, President Aristide agreed to step aside and support a presidential election in December 1995. Rene Preval, a prominent Aristide political ally, took 88% of the vote, and was sworn in to a 5-year term on February 7, 1996, during what was Haiti's first-ever transition between two democratically elected presidents.
In late 1996, former President Aristide broke from the OPL and created a new political party, the Lavalas Family (FL). The OPL, holding the majority of the Parliament, renamed itself the Struggling People's Organization. Initial results of elections in April 1997 for the renewal of one-third of the Senate and creation of commune-level assemblies and town delegations showed victories for FL candidates in most races. However, the elections, which drew only about 5% of registered voters, were plagued with allegations of fraud and not certified by most international observers as free and fair.
Preval’s first term was marked by political wrangling. The opposition blocked his initiatives, and he failed to organize timely legislative elections. Following parliamentary elections that the opposition deemed deeply flawed on August 28, 2000, Haiti's main bilateral donors re-channeled their assistance away from the government and announced they would not support or send observers to the November elections. Most opposition parties regrouped in an alliance that became the Democratic Convergence. Elections for President and nine Senators took place on November 26, 2000. All major opposition parties boycotted these elections, in which voter participation was estimated at 5%. Jean-Bertrand Aristide emerged as the easy victor of these controversial elections, and the candidates of his FL party swept all contested Senate seats. On February 7, 2001, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was inaugurated as President.
The political stalemate continued, and violence ensued. On July 28, 2001, unknown gunmen attacked police facilities in Port-au-Prince and the provinces. A subsequent government crackdown on opposition party members and former soldiers further increased tensions between Lavalas and Convergence. On December 17, 2001, unidentified gunmen attacked the National Palace in Port-au-Prince. Following the assault, pro-government groups attacked the offices and homes of several opposition leaders. One opposition member was killed. Negotiations between FL and Democratic Convergence were suspended indefinitely.
Despite the creation of an OAS Special Mission designed to strengthen Haiti's democratic institutions in security, justice, human rights, and governance, security continued to deteriorate. Events spiraled downward throughout 2003, as President Aristide and the opposition failed to agree on a political resolution. Following a meeting with Aristide at the Summit of the Americas in January 2004, Caribbean Community leaders proposed a plan to resolve the political crisis, which President Aristide said he accepted. A high-level international delegation went to Haiti February 21 to obtain agreement on a specific implementation timetable. President Aristide agreed, but the opposition "Democratic Platform" group of political parties and civil society expressed reservations. Meanwhile, violence in Gonaives culminated February 5 in the "Artibonite Resistance Front" seizing control of the city. Other armed groups opposed to the Aristide government quickly emerged and succeeded in seizing control of many towns, mostly with little resistance from government authorities. By February 28, 2004, a rebel group led by a former police chief, Guy Philippe, advanced to within 25 miles of the capital. On February 29, 2004 Aristide submitted his resignation as President of Haiti and flew on a chartered plane to Africa.
2004-2009 - Interim Government Gives Way to a New Democracy
Following the constitutional line of succession, Supreme Court Chief Justice Boniface Alexandre assumed the presidency and Gerard Latortue was appointed prime minister of the Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH) with the mandate of organizing elections to choose a new government. The interim government managed to organize three rounds of elections with the help of the OAS and UN. The first round of elections for President and Parliament took place peacefully on February 7, 2006, with a turnout estimated at over 60% of registered voters. The elections were considered generally free, fair, transparent, and democratic by national and international observers.
Rene Preval, former President (1996-2001) and former ally to Aristide, won the presidential election with 51.15%. Partial results first showed he fell short of an absolute majority, which triggered demonstrations against alleged fraud. The later decision of the Electoral Council not to count blank ballots gave the victory to Preval. The Parliament, composed of a 30-seat Senate and a 99-member Chamber of Deputies, was elected in two rounds held on February 7 and April 21, 2006. Lespwa was the main political force in both chambers but fell short of the majority. Fusion, UNION, Alyans, OPL, and Fanmi Lavalas had many representatives in both chambers. Preval chose his long-time political associate and former Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis to serve again as his Prime Minister. Municipal elections were held December 3, 2006 and April 29, 2007. Some of these local government positions had not been filled in over a decade.
A series of crises in 2008 threatened Haiti’s democratic consolidation. Nationwide civil disturbances broke out in April 2008, sparked by sharp increases in food and fuel prices. The April riots caused widespread disruption and suffering, toppled the government of Prime Minister Alexis, and forced postponement of a donor conference. In August and September, four tropical storms and hurricanes killed 800, affected nearly one million, exacerbated food shortages and pushed yet more Haitians into poverty. In early September 2008, Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis’s government took office and acted decisively within its means to provide relief and reconstruction. Pierre-Louis initially received cooperation from Parliament in crafting a relief package, but soon after Parliament summoned both her and her ministers to explain perceived delays in delivering relief assistance and to criticize her 2008-2009 budget.
Despite the devastating hurricanes and food riots in 2008, the Preval administration made substantial gains in the overall physical security throughout Haiti. The international community took notice of Haiti’s relative stability, and in January 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commissioned British economist Paul Collier to draft an economic development strategy for Haiti. In February, shortly after taking office, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton identified Haiti as a policy priority. By March, Collier’s report, “Haiti: From Natural Catastrophe to Economic Security” was adapted by the Government of Haiti as a template for its own economic growth strategy, presented at the Haiti Donor’s Conference hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank in April. The strategy called on donors to assist the Haitian Government by investing in the country’s roads, export zones, agriculture, electricity, schools, hospitals, and ports. In May 2009, the Secretary General named former U.S. President William J. Clinton as UN Special Envoy for Haiti and charged him with coordinating donors and attracting private investment to Haiti.
On October 20, 2009, Prime Minister Pierre-Louis was dismissed by the Senate, 1 year after taking office. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, former Minister of Planning and External Cooperation, took office in November 2009. By most accounts, Haiti prior to the January 2010 earthquake enjoyed relative internal stability. The country had a fully functioning legislature, and although it had risked instability by ousting Prime Minister Pierre-Louis, it demonstrated a marked readiness to act by promptly approving new Prime Minister Bellerive.
January 12, 2010 Earthquake
On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, with its epicenter near Port-au-Prince. The quake caused severe damage in Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Jacmel, and surrounding communities. Search and rescue teams were on the ground in Port-au-Prince immediately following the earthquake and worked 24 hours a day using listening devices, cameras, and trained dogs to detect any sign of human life. Rescue efforts eventually transitioned into recovery efforts on January 27, 15 days after the earthquake. The government estimated 230,000 deaths, about one million displaced people within the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, and 598,000 people who migrated from the affected areas to other locations in Haiti. Most of those people are thought to have returned to Port-au-Prince, as the communities of origin lacked the capacity to sustain the increase in population.
Following the earthquake, the U.S. military and representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) worked side by side to recover, identify, and repatriate any American citizen that was recovered. All U.S. citizens believed to be in the Hotel Montana, which had collapsed in the earthquake, were repatriated back to the United States, and families of victims recovered from other locations were given the choice of repatriation or local disposition. The U.S. Embassy and the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management were in regular and direct contact with the families of all of the missing.
U.S. Southern Command established Joint Task Force Haiti to support the relief effort following the earthquake. At the height of the task force's initial response, the U.S. contributed more than 20,000 U.S. troops, 20 ships, and 130 aircraft. U.S. military forces were focused on mitigating the negative weather effects on displacement camps in Port-au-Prince, supporting efforts to relocate displacement camps to transitional resettlement sites, and positioning the task force for a seamless transition. By March 15, all Canadian troops had left Haiti. Joint Task Force Haiti completed its mission on June 1, 2010. A small military liaison office of eight people remained in Port-au-Prince to coordinate further humanitarian missions with the lead U.S. federal agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Government of Haiti during the already-scheduled theater security cooperation exercise called New Horizons. The exercise brought in about 500 soldiers--mainly from the Louisiana National Guard along with soldiers from the Arizona, Montana, Nevada, Puerto Rican, and Virgin Island National Guards--to conduct engineering activities and medical readiness training exercises in the vicinity of Gonaives, north of Port-au-Prince.
The earthquake's enormous devastation threatened political and socio-economic stability and posed huge recovery and reconstruction challenges. The earthquake was the worst in Haiti in the previous 200 years, and generated an estimated $11.5 billion (173% of GDP) in damages and reconstruction costs. Assisting Haiti in recovery and rebuilding is a massive undertaking and requires a well-coordinated, well-funded, Government of Haiti-led effort by the Haitian people, the United States, the United Nations, other nations, international organizations, the Haitian Diaspora, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The outpouring of international support has been tremendous, as has the resolve of the Haitian people. The U.S. Government continues to work with the Haitian Government, NGOs, the UN, and partner nations to provide humanitarian assistance in Haiti. U.S. Government humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti total over $1 billion. The United States and other donor countries, international organizations, and other partners have pledged resources, coordinated support of Haiti’s long-term recovery, and committed to a sustained, long-term effort to support Haiti. At the "International Donors’ Conference Toward a New Future for Haiti," co-hosted by the United States and the United Nations on March 31, 2010 in New York, UN member states and international organizations pledged $9.9 billion toward reconstruction. The United States pledged $1.15 billion toward reconstruction efforts in the areas of energy, health, agriculture, governance, and security. The Government of Haiti presented its action plan outlining its vision for the future, which donors unanimously endorsed.
On April 15, 2010, the Haitian Parliament ratified a law extending by 18 months the state of emergency that President Preval had declared after the earthquake. The law also created the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (IHRC), allowing for Haitian-led planning with a role for international partners to provide input. The earthquake prompted postponement of legislative elections and cast uncertainty over whether presidential elections could be held at the end of 2010 as planned. On May 10, the mandates of one-third of the Senators and all of the 99 Deputies in the Haitian Parliament expired, leaving 19 Senators in office. In the interim, President Preval had the authority to rule by decree. Just before the mandates expired, Parliament passed a bill allowing President Preval to remain in office until May 2011, 3 months beyond the February date when he originally intended to step down. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held in November 2010 (first round) and March 2011 (second round).
The second round of elections on March 20, 2011 proceeded fairly calmly, and took into consideration a number of lessons learned from the November 28 first round. Michele Martelly won the presidential race, defeating Manigat by winning 67.5% of the vote. Martelly took office on May 14, 2011. Former President Preval’s party swept the legislative race, having won a majority in the Senate and a plurality in the Chamber of Deputies. On October 5 the Senate approved former UN official Gary Conille as Prime Minister, breaking a 5-month political impasse. The same day, President Martelly issued a decree naming Anel Alexis Joseph as President of Haiti’s Supreme Court. Haiti’s new prime minister and his cabinet took office on October 18.
In 2004, the UN Security Council established the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to support stability efforts in the country. Following the 2010-2011 elections, MINUSTAH's aims have been to restore a secure and stable environment, promote the political process, strengthen Haiti's governmental institutions and rule-of-law-structures, and promote and protect human rights.
Haiti has 14 km3 of internal renewable water resources plus 0.9 cubic kilometers (km3) of external renewable water resources that come from the Artibonite River from the Dominican Republic. Currently, only about 7.5% of the renewable water resources are utilized, of which 7.1% for irrigation. The rivers' water flow is characterized by wide seasonal fluctuation, partly because of rainfall irregularity, but also because of erosion and deforestation of catchments.
Freshwater withdrawal:0.99 cu km/yr (5% domestic/1% Industrial/94% Agricultural)
Freshwater withdrawal per capita: 116 cu m/yr (2000)
Irrigated land: 920 sq km (2003)
Nearly 70% of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming and employs about two-thirds of the economically active force. However, the performance of Haiti's agricultural sector has been stagnant. From 1985 to 1989, agriculture's average annual growth rate was -0.5%, continuing the negative trend that began in 1980. However, the 1992, 1993 and 1994 harvests were the highest in recent years due to abundant rainfall and adoption of improved production practices. Economic value of agricultural production has been decreasing, even though land and labor resources allocated to agricultural production have been increasing. Land and labor productivity losses have resulted from a deterioration in the quality of the country's capital stock (e.g., soil fertility, irrigation systems, and roads), reflecting a political and economic environment that has discouraged investment. Yields, with the exception of rice, show a negative trend and are becoming increasingly lower than those recorded in other countries of the region. The impossibility for the state to supply much-needed public goods has been the key factor hampering the development of an institutional framework conducive to growth.
Agricultural products: coffee, mangoes, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood
Haiti is a free market economy that enjoys the advantages of low labor costs and tariff-free access to the US for many of its exports.
Poverty, corruption, and poor access to education for much of the population are among Haiti's most serious disadvantages. Over the longer term, Haiti needs to create jobs for its young workforce and to build institutional capacity.
When the January 12, 2010 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince and surrounding communities, the Haitian economy had been growing slowly since 2005, with GDP growth (2.9%) barely outstripping population growth in FY 2009. Despite optimistic investment and revenue growth in the first quarter of FY 2010, the magnitude 7.0 earthquake set the economy back, and it contracted by 5.3% in FY 2010.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected growth to rebound strongly in FY 2011, to about 9%, driven mostly by reconstruction and foreign investments.
The January 2010 earthquake and the multiple hurricanes of late 2008 exacerbated Haiti’s position as the least-developed country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. Per capita GDP is under $2 per day, and comparative social and economic indicators continue to decline. Haiti ranks 146th of 177 countries in the UN's Human Development Index, and its pre-earthquake ranking in the World Bank’s 2011 Doing Business report went up marginally, from 163rd in the world in 2010 to 162nd.
Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, passed in December 2006, has boosted apparel exports and investment by providing duty-free access to the US. Congress voted in 2010 to extend the legislation until 2020 under the Haitian Economic Lift Act (HELP); the apparel sector accounts for three-quarters of Haitian exports and nearly one-tenth of GDP.
Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly 20% of GDP and more than twice the earnings from exports.
Haiti suffers from a lack of investment, partly because of limited infrastructure and a lack of security.
In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for reengagement with the Bank. Haiti received debt forgiveness for over $1 billion through the Highly-Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative in mis-2009. The remainder of its outstanding external debt was cancelled by donor countries in early 2010 but has since risen to about $400 million.
The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability, with over half of its annual budget coming from outside sources.
GDP: (Purchasing Power Parity): $12.44 billion (2011 est.)
GDP: (Official Exchange Rate): $7.4 billion (2011 est.)
GDP- per capita (PPP): $1,200 (2011 est.)
GDP- composition by sector:
services: 59% (2010 est.)
Population Below Poverty Line: 80% (2003 est.)
Industries: sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, cement, light assembly based on imported parts
Natural Resources: bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower
Currency: Gourdes (HTG)
- Haiti Mission Report 20 January - 19 March 2010, Muralee Thummarukudy, Programme Officer, Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, United Nations Environment Programme, March 2010. Download Report.
- Water profile of Haiti, Food and Agriculture Organization.
- World Wildlife Fund Homepage
- Energy profile of Caribbean from the Energy Information Administration
- January 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake from the United States Geological Survey
- http://www.usgs.gov/corecast/?tag=earthquakes USGS