The Haitian
Túlio Igor S. Pereira
ECON 465:Current Issues in Latin American Economies
Professor Ramon Castillo-Ponce
Key Investigative Questions
What is the outlook of the Haitian economy
today? Which economic/social indicators seems to be
the most alarming?
What causational factors can explain the situation of the
Haitian economy today?
What are the possible solutions to this difficult
conundrum? Is International aid an efficient
way to promote economic stabilization and
development in the country?
 Haiti is the poorest
country in the Americas.
One of the poorest in the
 According to the World
GDP = $11.18 billion
(2010 est.)
Two-thirds of all Haitians
depend on the agricultural
sector, mainly small-scale
subsistence farming
Unemployment Rate:
50%?? (Peaked at 70% in
the mid 1990’s according to
US Agency for International
Around 54% of the
population lives on less
than US$1 a day and 78%
on less than US$2 (2001
Key Facts About Haiti
Source: Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Additional Information on Mud Cookies:
Video from the BBC (on Youtube):
Articles from the Sunday Times and The
In this section I used interactive graphs with
the Gapminder software which you can obtain
for free at http://www.gapminder.org/downloads/
If you do not want to download the software, there is also an option to
use it directly on the website (all you need in this case is a web browser
with flash).
The software has more than 600 indicators spanning over 200 years of
data, so please feel free to play around with it!
The ones I used were the following (Child Mortality vs. Income per
Person and Life Expectancy vs. Income per Person):
A Little Bit of History
In 1697, Haiti became the French colony of
It was a successful colonial enterprise for France
(especially in terms of the production of
sugarcane),but it relied heavily on slave labor.
In 1801, Pierre-Dominique Toussaint l'Ouverture
declared Independence. Napoléon Bonaparte
suppressed the independence movement, but it
effectively triumphed in 1804 under JeanJacques Dessalines.
The Revolution brought more divides than
unity, and as a consequent result, a
weakening of the economy.
Disputes between light-skinned mulattoes
(who dominated the economy) and the black
population erupted.
A New Era of Dictatorships
In 1949, after four years of democratic rule by President Dumarsais Estimé,
dictatorship returned under Gen. Paul Magloire, who was succeeded by
François Duvalier, nicknamed “Papa Doc,” in 1957.
Upon Duvalier's death in 1971, his son, Jean-Claude, or “Baby Doc,”
succeeded as ruler. He fled the country in 1986.
On January 16, 2011, he made an unexpected return indicating that he
wanted to help in the reconstruction of the country: "I'm not here for politics.
I'm here for the reconstruction of Haiti,"
Throughout the 1990s the international
community tried to establish democracy in Haiti.
The country's first elected chief executive was
Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991. A UN
peacekeeping operation started in 2000.
The Worsening Effects of Natural Disasters
The 2008 hurricane season was the most severe
ever experienced in Haiti. Four storms--Fay,
Gustav, Hanna, and Ike wiped out 70% of Haiti's
crops for the year (according to the Food and
Agriculture Organization – FAO), leading food
prices to increase even higher in the country.
A massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti
in January 2010.
More than 230.000 people died (est.)
More than 1.3 million had to be displaced
Most of the already precarious infrastructure
literally collapsed.
What Solutions Can Be Undertaken?
1) In the short term humanitarian aid may be
needed (especially to provide basic nutrition to
those most in need)
2) Political stabilization must be achieved
(democratically elected governments and
reduction in corruption)
3) Reconstruction of basic infrastructure
4) Heavy investments in education
5) Specialization in the manufacturing industry
(especially the garment industry)
Concluding Thoughts
The Haitian Economic Crisis is the most
severe in the Western Hemisphere.
Political instability is one of the main reasons
for the economic situation.
International Financial Aid may be a solution
in the short run, but in the long run Haiti must
strive for economic independence.