Haiti is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters with more than 90 percent of the population at risk. Last year, Hurricane Matthew battered the south of Haiti on October 4, 2016, which was the most devastating disaster since the 2010 earthquake. It caused damages equivalent to 32% of GDP. In the country’s Southern Peninsula, a third of hospitals 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 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.
Haiti’s new President, Jovenel Moïse, the candidate from former President Martelly’s party, was sworn in on February 7, 2017. On March 21, 2017, the mew Prime Minister and Cabinet were ratified by the Parliament. The international community has continued to support Haiti. With the presidential and parliamentary elections resolved, and newly elected mayors in place, Haiti and its partners have a chance to strengthen their ties, accelerate reforms and move programs forward for more sustainable development for all Haitians.
Haiti faces important challenges to generate faster growth and fight poverty.
Haiti remains the poorest country in the Americas and one of the poorest in the world (with a GDP per capita of US$846 in 2014). According to the latest household survey (ECVMAS 2012), more than 6 million out of 10.4 million (59%) Haitians live under the national poverty line of US$2.41 per day and over 2.5 million (24%) live under the national extreme poverty line of US$1.23 per day. It is also one of the most unequal countries, with a Gini coefficient of 0.59 as of 2012.
The fiscal deficit is expected to widen substantially this year. Economic growth has slowed to one percent. Public expenditure is on the rise to meet the post-Matthew reconstruction needs. Resource mobilization continues to be a challenge with internal revenues only reaching 12.9% of GDP. In addition, Hurricane Matthew caused agricultural output to fall by 5.1 percent over the first half of the fiscal year.
However, The depreciation of the Haitian gourde against the dollar continues to slow. The Central Bank of Haiti is holding to a monetary policy aimed at smoothing exchange rate variations and containing inflation.
Last Updated: Oct 02, 2017