Six 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 and quality of education, health and other services, and stimulate investment.
Although significant challenges remain, Haiti has seen a number of positive developments since the earthquake:
- Of the 1.5 million internally displaced people, more than 1.4 million have left the camps and relocated.
- 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.
- Extreme poverty has fallen from 31 to 24% over the last decade, especially in urban areas, and foremost in Port au Prince. 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.
- The tourism sector is growing with several new hotels in Port au Prince and an increase in international travelers by nearly 20% in the last couple of years.
Nevertheless, much remains to be done to reduce poverty and improve the wellbeing of Haitians. Cholera is still a major concern. Infections had gone down dramatically from a monthly average of around 30,000 cases in 2011 to about 3,000 cases per month in 2015, thanks to the joint efforts of the government and development partners. However, for the period January 1 to August 27, 2016, roughly 3,350 cases per month were reported on average, though deaths remained at below 1% of cases. Concerted efforts are being undertaken by the Bank in coordination with the UN and other partners to step up support in assisting the Government to achieve its 3 year Mid-Term Plan goal of having less than 10,000 cholera cases per year by 2018.
President Michel Martelly stepped down at the end of his constitutional mandate on Feb. 7 and without an elected successor, lawmakers chose the Senate chief Jocelerme Privert to lead a caretaker government. His mandate as interim President expired in June 2016, though he is still acting as the parliament did not reach a consensus to renew his mandate or replace him. The Provisional Electoral Council is organizing the first round of election on October 9 to elect a president, renew a third of the senate and vote for additional MPs. The second round will take place on January 8 together with the election of the mayors. Final results for the presidential elections are expected by January 30.
Haiti faces important challenges to generate faster growth and fight poverty. Economic growth continues to decelerate from 2.8% in fiscal year 2014, to 1.2% in 2015 and is expected to be around 0.8% in 2016, due to lower investments, uncertain political environment and a modest recovery of the agricultural sector after a severe drought.
With slower GDP growth, revenue mobilization remains weak and international aid has fallen from 16.5 to 5.3 percent of GDP between 2011 and 2015. In addition, concessional financing from PetroCaribe is substantially reduced due to lower oil prices, leading to cuts in public investment. Lower investments in physical and human capital could further dampen growth prospects and reverse social gains in health and education.
The depreciation of the gourde and the drought have translated into higher domestic prices and annual inflation rate remains high at 12.9% though in decline.
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 US$ 2.42 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 0.61 as of 2012.
Last Updated: Sep 16, 2016