Five years after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, Haiti has moved from recovery to longer term development as it continues to improve infrastructure and strengthen institutions, work toward increasing access to education, health and other services, and stimulate investment.
In spite of the enormity of the task, much has been done by Haitians and the Haitian Government, in partnership with CSOs, the private sector, and the international community.
- Of the 1.5 million internally displaced people, more than 1.4 million have left the camps and relocated. Reconstruction programs are repairing and building safer housing and upgrading neighborhood infrastructure.
- Haitians children have benefitted from better access to primary education, where participation rates of school-age children rose from 78 to 90 percent. However, the quality of education and learning remains a challenge. Only one third of all children aged 14 are in the appropriate grade for their age.
- Haiti has made progress in controlling the cholera epidemic since the 2010 outbreak with reported case numbers decreasing from a monthly average of more than 35,000 in 2011, to about 2,200 cases per month in 2014. However, cholera continues to be a threat and water borne diseases are among the leading causes of infant mortality in the country.
- The government has also taken action to reduce extreme poverty in Haiti by launching several social safety initiatives for the poorest. However, sustainability, targeting, and coverage remain significant challenges. Only 8 percent of the Haitian population received noncontributory social assistance benefits in 2012, such as scholarships, food aid, and other transfers.
Nevertheless, much remains to be done to reduce poverty and improve the wellbeing of Haitians.
In recent years, the political situation had been relatively stable. Having been elected in 2011, a year after the earthquake of 2010, President Michel Martelly has less than one year left on his term. However political tension due to delays in holding Parliamentary and Municipal elections led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Lamothe in December 2014, who had led the Government for over two and a half years. Since January 2015, most Parliamentarians terms have expired and, without the possibility of quorum, parliament is no longer functioning. As a result, President Martelly is left to rule the country by decree with an interim Government.
However, with the publication of the electoral calendar for presidential, parliamentary, municipal elections, starting in August 2015 and ending at the beginning of 2016, the crisis appears to be receding. According to the UN Secretary-General's latest report on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, the country has made some “measurable gains towards the holding of long-overdue elections by the end of 2015, despite the lingering 'uncertainty' caused by the absence of a functioning Parliament.” Key political parties have registered to participate in the process.
The Haitian economy has been recovering since the earthquake. Growth has been modest, but macroeconomic stability has been maintained and inflation generally controlled. This was achieved, despite an unfavorable international economic environment, droughts and pests drastically reducing agricultural production, and repeated hurricanes and tropical storms, including Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy.
Economic growth is estimated at 2.7 percent in fiscal year 2014, down from the 4.3 percent observed in 2013. This substantial slowdown in 2014 was mainly due to delays in budget approval and adverse weather conditions that affected agricultural production.
A major challenge for Haiti will be to manage the substantial decrease in donor financing. Having declined for the last three years, the trend is expected to continue in the future. This will likely constrain Haiti’s capital investments, which had increased for the last three years with limited impact on growth. With limited resources, efficient and effective use domestic and external resources will remain critical.
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) with significant needs in basic services. 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 $ 2.44 per day and over 2.5 million (24%) live under the national extreme poverty line of 1.24 dollar per day It is also one of the most unequal countries, with a Gini coefficient of 0.61 as of 2012.