Haiti is extremely vulnerable to natural hazards with more than 90 percent of the population at risk. On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew, the most devastating disaster since the 2010 earthquake, battered Haiti’s southern peninsula, causing damage equivalent to 32% of GDP. One third of hospitals in that region were affected, more than 500 schools were destroyed, and the losses in agriculture, fishing, and livestock had a long-term impact on the livelihood of the affected communities.
However, the country has been taking significant steps to get ready for these inevitable natural disasters. While the recent storms Irma and Maria skirted the island of Hispaniola, initial assessments show that the Government was better prepared and had incorporated lessons learned from the experience with Hurricane Matthew.
February 7, 2018 marked the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Jovenel Moïse, who was elected under the banner of the party of former president, Michel Martelly. President Moïse appointed Jacques Guy Lafontant Head of Government before launching his “Caravan of Change” initiative throughout the country.
The international community has continued to provide support to Haiti on many levels. Haiti and its partners have maintained their ties, with a view to accelerating reforms and moving programs forward to achieve inclusive and sustainable development for all Haitians.
Haiti faces important challenges to generate faster growth and fight poverty.
Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas. According to the latest household survey (ECVMAS 2012), more than 6 million out of 10.4 million Haitians (59%) were living below the national poverty line of US$2.41 per day and over 2.5 million (24%) were living below the national extreme poverty line of US$1.23 per day. Haiti is also one of the most unequal countries, with a Gini coefficient of 0.59 as of 2012.
However, despite efforts made by the Haitian Government, forecasts show a significant fiscal deficit for the current year. Economic growth has slowed to 1%. Owing in large measure to a poorly performing agricultural sector, Haiti’s GDP growth slowed to 1.2% in 2017, compared to 1.5% in 2016. Public expenditure increased to meet post-Matthew reconstruction needs. Resource mobilization continues to be a challenge with internal revenues only reaching 12.9% of GDP. In addition, while Hurricane Matthew caused agricultural output to fall by 5.1 percent over the first half of the fiscal year, sector production increased by 0.8 percent by the end of the year.
However, the depreciation of the Haitian gourde against the dollar continues, sliding from an average of 62.85 gourdes to one US dollar in October 2017 to 64.05 gourdes by February 2018. In early March, the Haitian Government issued a decree requiring all commercial transactions to be conducted in gourdes in the country. At the same time, the Central Bank of Haiti is holding to a monetary policy aimed at smoothing exchange rate variations and containing inflation.
Last Updated: Apr 02, 2018