Haiti, “a factory of poverty”

Photo: Hector Retamal Agence France-Presse
The worsening of poverty in Haiti causes of the social tensions that impede private investments, which is detrimental to the business climate in the country.

Port-au-Prince — The haitian economy has only experienced a limited growth of 1.2 % on the year 2017, which does not allow the countries of the Caribbean highly vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather, out of the vicious circle of poverty.


Far behind the performance of the neighboring dominican Republic (5.3% in 2017), the very low growth of Haiti is a concern, because it is still lower than the population growth rate, stable at 1.5 %. “It is a factory of poverty “, that summarizes the haitian economist Kesner Pharel. “There are serious structural problems and, above all, the great problem is inflation : we had an inflation from an annual average of 14.7 %, so that even those who work are impoverished,” he continued.


Started October 1, 2016, the fiscal year haitian has, from the beginning of the first quarter, was suffering from the consequences of the storm Matthew, which has ravaged the south of the island on 3 and 4 October. The damage, valued at nearly $ 2 billion, have been registered in the agricultural sector, which accounts for 20 % of the country’s GDP.


The vulnerability of Haiti to natural disasters constitutes a real obstacle to its economic development, but the debt is growing in the country (which has tripled in 10 years to more than today’s $ 3-billion) prevents any investment to reduce the risk. “The debt service in the budget is 13 billion gourdes [202 million], and only a billion of gourdes annual [15.6 million] is planned for the environmental sector, so we spend a lot more money in a month to repay the debt to resolve to the year of environmental problems “, is concerned Kesner Pharel.


The situation is even more alarming that this low growth 2017 has in the end been possible thanks to remittances from the haitian diaspora, estimated at more than $ 2 billion. “Fortunately, the u.s. economy is doing well, and the wave of young Haitians parties in Chile is felt through these mailings, but how many years will it support it ? We can’t depend on transfers for there to be economic growth “, concludes Mr. Pharel.


The worsening of poverty engenders social tensions that impede private investments, which is detrimental to the business climate in the country. Because of the lack of protection of investments, corruption and administrative red tape, Haiti was ranked by Forbes magazine among the worst countries to do business in 2018, at the 151st rank out of 153 countries surveyed, ahead of the Gambia, and Chad.


This is the ranking of Haiti in the ranking of the worst countries for business in 2018, according to Forbes magazine. One hundred and fifty three countries have been analyzed.