Haiti was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere before a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January of 2010 caused billions of dollars of damage and the country’s GDP to contract a staggering 5.4%. Despite foreign debt forgiveness after the quake, Haiti maintains more than 600 million dollars of external debt. Although there is potential for strong agriculture and tourism in Haiti, there is very little direct investment mad e due to Haiti’s weak infrastructure, poor security, and long history of political corruption. Tourism is virtually non-existent due to concerns about safety and drug-trafficking. Existing agriculture is based heavily in small-scale subsistence farming and is a source of income for two-fifths of the Haitian population; however, farms remain vulnerable to natural disasters and deforestation.
Although more than 80 percent of the Haitian population lives in poverty, and more than 50 percent, in abject poverty, a group of French-speaking mulatto elite that constitute less than 1 percent of the national population control more than 50 percent of the Haiti’s wealth, a problem that remains largely unaddressed.
Need for native philanthropy
During the Duvalier years it was especially difficult for Haitians to organize any sort of not-for-profit or grassroots organizations in their own country. There has recently been an explosion of these types of organizations in Haiti, but more are needed. Thousands of Haitians have struggled for decades to improve their country and rid it of poverty, with isolated successes. Haitian leaders are needed to found native humanitarian organizations, and their input is also imperative for the success of international non-profit groups.Join a Student Group near you Find a Project and Support It