Haiti is the poorest country in the western
hemisphere and a large part of the population lives in
deep poverty. The gap between the poor and the rich is
huge. The country is severely affected by natural
disasters that have caused enormous damage to
infrastructure and agriculture. Between several severe
hurricanes in 2008 and 2016 came the great earthquake in
Haiti's economy would collapse completely without
international aid and money sent by Haitians abroad. The
money shipments, the remittances, corresponded to just
over one third of GDP in 2019.
Major imports by Haiti, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
Ten years earlier, in 2009, international lenders
approved Haiti's attempts at economic reform and donated
more than 60 percent of the country's US $ 1.9 billion
After the 2010 earthquake, the world quickly pledged
the equivalent of about $ 10 billion to the
reconstruction of the country and most of the remaining
debt was written off. At the same time, the country was
promised new loans. The devastation of the earthquake,
and the loss of jobs, may have cost the country up to US
$ 14 billion, equivalent to more than two years of GDP.
Yet several years after the earthquake, only about
two-thirds of the promised money was estimated to have
been paid out, most to various aid organizations and not
directly to the Haitian government, which was not always
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including HTI which represents the country of Haiti.
Agriculture and industry
The old main industry, agriculture, is responsible
for a little over a fifth of GDP despite major
shortcomings. The industry consists primarily of textile
industries and small compound factories for export, but
violence and corruption have slowed foreign investment
and economic reform. Haiti has had difficulty coping
with competition from other low-wage countries with more
stable conditions and better infrastructure.
The majority of well-educated Haitians have fled the
country. One of the few "industries" that is booming is
the smuggling of cocaine from Latin America via Haiti to
the United States.
The 1991-1994 military regime and the resulting
international sanctions caused a sharp economic
downturn. In 1995, however, loans and assistance from
abroad began to flow again. The economy began to recover
and some reforms were initiated, a demand from donors.
Among other things, the number of government employees
was reduced and two of the country's nine fallen state
companies were privatized. But financial neglect and
political disputes led to a reduction in foreign direct
aid to the state to cease completely in 2001.
Following the fall of President Aristide in 2004 (see
Modern History), a new collaboration with the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) began in an effort to
get the economy settled. After 2005, GDP has grown every
year with the exception of the 2010 disaster year, but
never with the 6 to 7 percent that would be required to
Corruption, tax evasion and inefficient authorities
have led to small tax collections, only about 10 per
cent of GDP.
Foreign trade data is often uncertain, but officially
there is a very large trade deficit, which is dominated
by textiles and clothing, mangoes and coffee, and with
the United States as by far the largest trading partner.
In 2016, imports were more than three times that of
exports. Deficits are largely offset by foreign aid and
money sent by Haitians abroad. For several years, these
contributions from the exile have been more than twice
the country's export earnings. While foreign Haitians
have become more generous, there is a growing fatigue in
international donors, not least with the United States
following Donald Trump's presidency.
Haiti has been a member of the World Trade
Organization since 1996. In 2006, the country joined the
so-called Petrocaribe Agreement, a kind of aid program
intended to give states in the region access to
Venezuelan oil on favorable terms. But Petrocaribe has
in practice been put out of operation since 2018, as a
result of the crisis in Venezuela and US sanctions on
the country. In addition, there were data in 2018 that a
large part of the aid money in Haiti had dissipated,
which has grown into a political scandal (see Calendar).
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 868 (2018)
US $ 9,658 million (2018)
1.5 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
21.0 percent (2016) 1
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
19.0 percent (2016) 2
The service sector's share of GDP
60.0 percent (2016) 3
17.6 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
33.3 percent (2018)
US $ 2,213 million (2017)
US $ 1,078 million (2018)
US $ 4 484 million (2018)
- US $ 343 million (2018)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
61 percent (2018)
Main export goods
clothing, shoes, cocoa, mango fruit, essential oils,
Largest trading partner
USA, Dominican Republic, Netherlands Antilles, China
- estimate made by europaworld.com
2. estimate made by europaworld.com
3. estimate made by europaworld.com
New Prime Minister appointed
Michèle Pierre-Louis succeeds Alexis as Prime Minister (see April 2008).
Severe storms hit Haiti
Since four tropical storms hit Haiti in August and September, it has been
found that nearly 800 Haitians have died and a million have become homeless.
Promise for extra food assistance
The United States and the World Bank announce that Haiti will receive extra
food assistance totaling approximately $ 30 million.
The Prime Minister is set aside after food scraps
Food cravings erupt since prices for basic commodities have risen sharply.
Prime Minister Alexis is dismissed by the Senate, accused of responding too
slowly and ineffectively to the problem of rising food prices.
UN support in the fight against crime
UN force Minustah, together with police, launch an offensive against criminal
leagues in Cité Soleil, one of the largest and most violent slums in
Port-au-Prince. The leagues that deal with arms and drug smuggling are guilty of
numerous murders and kidnappings.