Background on Haiti: The native Taino Amerindians - inhabited the island of Hispaniola when discovered by Columbus in 1492. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean through heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. Late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE. Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history.
Background Continued: Population: 9,648,924 Population Growth Rate: -1.715% (2010 est.) Life Expectancy of Total Population: 29.93 years People living with AIDS: 120,000 Ethnic Groups: black 95%, mulatto and white 5% Major Infectious Diseases: food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009) Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 52.9%
Dependency on Economy The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability. Four tropical storms in 2008 severely damaged the transportation infrastructure and agricultural sector. Haitians make their living through subsistence farming, Haiti also has an agricultural export sector Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation Haiti ‘s small mining industry extracts minerals worth US$13 million annually Labor Force: 3.643 million agriculture: 66% industry: 9% services: 25%
Effects of a paralyzed Economy: 80% of the population live under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty Haiti suffers from lack of investment because of insecurity and limited infrastructure & severe trade deficit. Unemployment rate in the formal sector falls between 70-80% 54% of Haitians live on less than $1/day while illiteracy is estimated at 44% Indebtedness Haiti ranks 154 of 177 countries in the UN's Human Development Index. widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs
Foreign Investment and Affairs Haiti has been receiving minimal foreign investment in the past 20 years. Only consistent source of outside investments have been development aid and loans To encourage foreign investment, the interim government approved a three-year “tax holiday” for all foreign businesses that invest in Haiti. Foreign Benefactors: U.S., European Union, Inter-American Development Bank, & the World Bank Implementation of 8,000 peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to maintain civil order
History of U.S. Economic Support & Aid to Haiti HOPE Act: boosted apparel exports and investment by providing tariff-free access to the US. HOPE II, improved the export environment for the apparel sector Apparel sector: Accounts for two-thirds of Haitian exports and nearly one-tenth of GDP. Haiti met IMF and World Bank's conditions for the HIPCP, qualifying for cancellation of $1.2 billion in external debt. Debt forgiveness of $525 million through the HIPC initiative achieved thus far. US/AID conflict mitigation programs: provided 100,000 Haitians with short-term jobs to rebuild infrastructure US/AID activities financed access to basic health services to approximately 4.8 million (50% of the population) US/AID Lending to rural and semi-rural micro-businesses reached more than 370,000 clients, particularly women.
U.S. Aid During 2008 Hurricanes Provided emergency food assistance to more than 2 million Haitians. Within days of hurricanes striking Haiti, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance supported more than 40,000 displaced families with emergency supplies and early recovery activities USAID is directing the delivery of more than $100 million in hurricane relief and reconstruction activities designed to restore public services and livelihoods, infrastructure, stabilize watersheds, and develop the Government of Haiti’s disaster preparedness and mitigation capacity. The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, strengthened Haitian governments ability to detect earthquake activity by funding five new seismometers Removed over 881,000 cubic meters of rubble through programs including cash-for-work and vaccinated over 1 million people against highly contagious diseases like polio.
Hesitation to Provide Additional Aid: Evidence of systematic electoral fraud and the failure of the Haitian government to implement accountability measures The country is heavily corrupt. Every year much of the humanitarian aid is pocketed by officials. On average, opening a business took 204 days. For comparison, the average was 73.3 days in Latin America and 16.3 days in OECD countries The political elite is also involved in various criminal businesses. Leading members of the military and police have cooperated with the illegal drug trade since the 1980s.
Benefits of Providing Future Aid: Potential Economic and Political Stability, without incorporating neoliberal policies Boost in the garment and automotive parts exports and investment, and employments overall Improvements in economic opportunities and livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of Haitians Social development Expansion in vaccines, antiretroviral meds, and delivery of reproductive health services and health services overall Access to clean water/water services Prevention and containment in the spread of HIV/AIDS, resulting in a significantly lower death rate Increased access to education/distant based education and scholarships School Feeding Programs Women’s empowerment programs
Ramifications for Not Providing Future Aid Continuous spread of poverty and preventative diseases, as seen with the recent Cholera outbreak Substantial rises in unemployment (already affecting 2/3rds) due to a continual lack of economic infrastructure Decreases in economic growth which foments human rights advancements and social stability Proliferation in deaths among the Haitian citizens Exigencies in women’s empowerment and democratization efforts Increased hostility towards core nations, particularly the U.S. and France Increased famine and malnutrition, along with environmental degradation