Country Listing

Haiti Table of Contents



Gross Domestic Product (GDP--see Glossary): Approximately US$1.95 billion in 1987, or about US$330 per capita, lowest in Western Hemisphere. Economy contracted during most of 1980s.

Agriculture: Employed 65 percent of labor force and accounted for 35 percent of GDP and 24 percent of exports in late 1980s. Production suffered from severe deforestation and erosion, primitive techniques, land fragmentation, and lack of public and private investment. Coffee leading export, but production consistently fell below country's export quota as determined by International Coffee Organization. Other cash crops included sugar, cocoa, sisal, and cotton. Real per capita production of food crops declined during 1980s, necessitating high levels of basic grains imports.

Industry: Accounted for 23 percent of GDP in 1988, for 53 percent of exports, and for 6 percent of labor force. Most dynamic subsector was assembly manufacturing, mainly for United States market. Industry suffered in late 1980s because of political instability, country's failure to compete effectively with other Caribbean and Central American beneficiaries of Caribbean Basin Initiative (see Appendix B), high utility rates, infrastructure deficiencies, and shortage of skilled labor.

Services: Accounted for 42 percent of GDP in 1987, 23 percent of labor force in 1983. Banking and financial services major sectoral contributor. Transportation and communications systems inadequate; tourism dropped off substantially during 1980s.

Currency: Gourde (G--see Glossary): Official exchange rate maintained at G5 to US$1 since 1919. Black market trading began in early 1980s in response to high inflation and fiscal shortfalls. United States dollar also accepted as legal tender.

Imports: Approximately US$308 million in 1987. Foodstuffs leading import item, followed by machinery and transport equipment, manufacturing inputs, and petroleum.

Exports: Approximately US$198 million in 1987. Manufactured goods accounted for more than 50 percent of total, followed by coffee and handicraft items.

Fiscal Year (FY--see Glossary): October 1 through September 30.

Balance of Payments: Current account deficits throughout 1980s, although increased foreign aid flows compensated to some extent in FY1986 and FY1987. Following renewed political instability after unsuccessful elections in November 1987, capital flight and aid cutbacks exacerbated the balance of payments situation.

Fiscal Policy: Tradition of balanced budgets broken by expansion of public sector under Jean-Claude Duvalier (1971-86). Public sector deficit reached 10.6 percent of GDP in FY1985, reduced slightly to 7 percent of GDP in FY 1987.

Data as of December 1989