Seven years after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, the country remains vulnerable to natural disasters. On October 4th 2016, the Caribbean island was hit by Category 4 Hurricane Matthew, which was the most devastating disaster since the 2010 earthquake. A rapid assessment by the government, with help from the World Bank and IDB estimated that damages and losses could reach up to USD $1.9 billion or 22% of GDP.
Losses in agriculture, livestock and fishing are estimated at US$ 600 million. With a long term impact on the livelihoods of the rural population. Over 500 schools were completely destroyed, and 3,400 public and private schools were damaged. In Haiti’s Southern Peninsula, a third of hospitals have been affected.
The impact of Hurricane Matthew on infrastructure and livelihoods has contributed to a spike in the number of new cases and deaths of cholera but the trend has quickly been reversed thanks to a quick response from health partners including the World Bank.
Haiti’s new President, Jovenel Moïse, the candidate from former President Martelly’s party, was sworn in on February 7, 2017. On March 21, 2017, the New Prime Minister and Cabinet were ratified by the Parliament. President Moise and his government have articulated a desire to pursue reform in energy and agriculture.
Haiti faces important challenges to generate faster growth and fight poverty. Haiti’s fiscal deficit is expected to widen substantially this year. Economic growth has slowed to one percent. Public expenditure is on the rise to meet the post-Matthew reconstruction needs and resources mobilization continues to be a challenge with internal revenues only reaching 13 percent of GDP.
The depreciation of the gourde against the dollar continues to decelerate. The Central Bank (BRH) maintained its monetary policy aimed at smoothing exchange rate variations and containing inflation.
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.
With thanks to World Bank [source].