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Haiti Economy


Haiti's economy is still recovering from the massive earthquake in January 2010. Its purchasing power parity GDP fell 8% in 2010 (from $12.15 billion to $11.18 billion) and the GDP per capita remained unchanged at $1,200 (PPP). Comparative social and economic indicators show Haiti falling behind other low-income developing countries (particularly in the hemisphere) since the 1980s. Haiti ranked 145 of 182 countries in the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index, with 57.3% of the population being deprived in at least three of the HDI's poverty measures. Most Haitians live on $2 or less per day.

The World Bank estimates that in 2004 over 80% of college graduates from Haiti were living abroad, with their remittances home representing 52.7% of Haiti's GDP. Cité Soleil is considered one of the worst slums in the Americas, most of its 500,000 residents live in extreme poverty. Poverty has forced at least 225,000 Haitian children to work as restavecs (unpaid household servants); the United Nations considers this to be a modern-day form of slavery.

About 66% of all Haitians work in the agricultural sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming, but this activity makes up only 30% of the GDP. The country has experienced little formal job-creation over the past decade, although the informal economy is growing. Mangoes and coffee are two of Haiti's most important exports.

Natural resources of Haiti include bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble and hydropower. Haiti contains relatively small amounts of gold, silver, antimony, tin, lignite, sulphur, coal, nickel, gypsum, limestone, manganese, marble, iron, tungsten, salt, clay, and various building stones. Gold and copper are found in small quantities in the north of the country. The government announced the discovery of new gold deposits in the northern peninsula in 1985, but long-standing plans for gold production proceeded slowly. Copper also was mined, beginning in the 1960s, but production of the ore was sporadic. There are bauxite (aluminium ore) deposits on the southern peninsula, but large scale mining there was discontinued in 1983. The country’s only bauxite mine, the Miragoâne mine in the southern peninsula, produced an average of 500,000 tons of bauxite a year in the early 1980s; however, in 1982 the declining metal content of the ore, high production costs, and the oversupplied international bauxite market forced the mine to close. Bauxite had at one time been the country’s second leading export. Haiti apparently has no hydrocarbon resources on land or in the Gulf of Gonâve and is therefore heavily dependent on energy imports.

Haiti's richest 1% own nearly half the country's wealth. Haiti has consistently ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index. Since the day of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Haiti's government has been notorious for its corruption. It is estimated that President "Baby Doc" Duvalier, his wife Michelle, and three other people took $504 million from the Haitian public treasury between 1971 and 1986.

Foreign aid makes up approximately 30-40% of the national government's budget. The largest donor is the US, followed by Canada and the European Union. From 1990 to 2003, Haiti received more than $4 billion in aid. The US alone had provided Haiti with $1.5 billion in aid. Venezuela and Cuba also make various contributions to Haiti's economy, especially after alliances were renewed in 2006 and 2007. In January 2010, China promised $4.2 million for the quake-hit island. US President Barack Obama pledged $1.15 billion in assistance. European Union nations promised more than €400 million in emergency aid and reconstruction funds.

Following almost four years of recession ending in 2004, the economy grew by 1.5% in 2005. In 2005 Haiti's total external debt reached an estimated $1.3 billion, which corresponds to a debt per capita of $169. In September 2009, Haiti met the conditions set out by the IMF and World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program to qualify for cancellation of its external debt.


Economy - overview : Haiti is a free market economy that enjoys the advantages of low labour costs and tariff-free access to the US for many of its exports. Poverty, corruption, vulnerability to natural disasters, and low levels of education for much of the population are among Haiti's most serious impediments to economic growth. Haiti's economy suffered a severe setback in January 2010 when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed much of its capital city, Port-au-Prince, and neighbouring areas. Currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty, the earthquake further inflicted $7.8 billion in damage and caused the country's GDP to contract 5.4% in 2010. In 2011, the Haitian economy had begun recovering slowly from the effects of the earthquake. However, two hurricanes adversely affected agricultural output and the slow public capital spending negatively affected the economic recovery in 2012. GDP growth for 2012 was 2.8%, down from 5.6% in 2011. Two-fifths 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 Caribbean Basin Trade Preference Agreement (CBTPA) and the 2008 Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE II) Act helped increase apparel exports and investment by providing duty-free access to the US. Congress voted in 2010 to extend the CBTPA and HOPE II until 2020 under the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act; the apparel sector accounts for about 90% of Haitian exports and nearly one-twentieth of GDP. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equalling 20% of GDP and representing more than five times the earnings from exports in 2012. Haiti suffers from a lack of investment, partly because of weak infrastructure such as access to electricity. In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for re-engagement with the Bank. Haiti received debt forgiveness for over $1 billion through the Highly-Indebted Poor Country initiative in mid-2009. The remainder of its outstanding external debt was cancelled by donor countries following the 2010 earthquake, but has since risen to nearly $1 billion. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability, with over half of its annual budget coming from outside sources. The Martelly administration in 2011 launched a campaign aimed at drawing foreign investment into Haiti as a means for sustainable development. To that end, the Martelly government in 2012 created a Commission for Commercial Code Reform, effected reforms to the justice sector, and inaugurated the Caracol Industrial Park in Haiti's north coast.
GDP (purchasing power parity) : $12.8 billion (2012 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate) : $7.795 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate : 2.8% (2012 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP) : $1,200 (2012 est.)
Gross national saving : 3.7% of GDP (2011 est.)
GDP - composition by sector : agriculture: 24.7%
industry: 19.5%
services: 55.8% (2012 est.)
Labour force : 4.81 million
note: shortage of skilled labour, unskilled labour abundant (2010 est.)
Labour force - by occupation : agriculture: 38.1%
industry: 11.5%
services: 50.4% (2010)
Unemployment rate : 40.6% (2010 est.)
note: widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labour force do not have formal jobs
Population below poverty line : 80% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
: lowest highest 10%: 0.7%
Distribution of family income - Gini index
: 59.2 (2001)
Budget : revenues: $1.812 billion
expenditures: $2.279 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues : 23.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) : -6% of GDP (2012 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) : 6.3% (2012 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate : 8.93% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money : $1.107 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money : $3.509 billion (31 October 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit : $1.515 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares : $NA
Agriculture - products : coffee, mangoes, cocoa, sugar cane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood, vetiver
Industries : textiles, sugar refining, flour milling, cement, light assembly based on imported parts
Industrial production growth rate : 6.5% (2012 est.)
Electricity - production : 726 million kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity - consumption : 208.5 million kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity - exports : 0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity - imports : 0 kWh (2012 est.)
Crude Oil - production : 0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude Oil - exports : 0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude Oil - imports : 2,747 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude Oil - proved reserves : 0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production : 0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption : 14,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports : 0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports : 15,130 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Natural gas - production : 0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas - consumption : 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports : 0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas - imports : 0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves : 0 cu m (1 January 2013 es)
Current account balance : $-1.358 billion (2012 est.)
Exports : $785 million (2012 est.)
Exports - commodities : apparel, manufactures, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee
Exports - partners : US 81.7% (2012)
Imports : $2.679 billion (2012 est.)
Imports - commodities : food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
Imports - partners : Dominican Republic 34.5%, US 26.2%, Netherlands Antilles 9.4%, China 7% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold : $1.287 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Debt - external : $957.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home : $$963.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Exchange rates : gourdes (HTG) per US dollar - 41.95 (2012 est.); 40.52 (2011 est.); 39.8 (2010 est.); 42.02 (2009); 39.216 (2008)
Fiscal year : 1 October - 30 September




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