Root Cause of Problems Haiti. Economic overview 1

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Economic overview

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

According to recent poverty studies
conducted in the country, an estimated 76 per cent of its 8.4 million population lives below the
poverty line (on less than US$2 a day) while approximately 56 per cent lives in abject poverty
(on less than US$1 a day).


The food security situation in the country is dire and Haiti is ranked with Afghanistan and
Somalia as one of the three countries in the world with the worst daily calorific deficit per head
of the population.

Half of the population does not have access to clean water and only 28 per
cent has access to decent sanitation.

At almost three times the regional average, poverty
levels in Haiti can only be compared to those of sub-Saharan Africa.

Income inequality is
among the highest in the world ­ Haiti's Gini coefficient (the measure generally using to
measure income inequality) of 0.65 is even higher than Brazil's at 0.59.

Poverty is also a strongly rural phenomenon, and the most recent poverty survey on Haiti
established that rural `self-employed' people who are involved in agriculture suffer the highest
incidence of poverty.

There is a striking difference between the metropolitan area and the
rest of the country, with nine out of ten poor people living outside the capital Port-au-Prince.

Poverty levels in other urban areas are close to those in surrounding rural areas.

At 59 per
cent, extreme poverty is higher in rural areas, and a staggering 82 per cent of the rural
population lives below the poverty line.

The causes of poverty in Haiti are, of course, multiple and complex.

The country has a history
of instability, political repression, poor governance, corruption, low health and education
spending, low investment and low productivity.

The government has never made a serious
attempt to provide necessary basic services to the population or to create an environment in
which poverty reduction could occur.

In particular, there has been no meaningful investment to
raise the productivity of poor people.

Lionne, April 24 2008, 5:59 PM

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