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- GDP (PPP):
- $12.4 billion
- 5.6% growth
- 1.4% 5-year compound annual growth
- $1,235 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Haiti’s economic freedom score is 48.1, making its economy the 151st freest in the 2013 Index. Declines in the management of government spending, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom make its overall score 2.6 points lower than last year. Haiti is ranked 24th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is far below the regional average.
Haiti’s post-earthquake reconstruction efforts continue, assisted by substantial aid from the international community. Governing institutions remain weak and inefficient, and overall progress has not been substantial. The parliament has not renewed the mandate of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which had been tasked with overseeing reconstruction efforts but was unpopular.
The effectiveness of public spending has been severely undermined by ongoing political volatility that undercuts the already weak foundations of the rule of law. Reforms to improve the business and investment climates have had little effect because of pervasive corruption and the inefficient judicial framework. Limited efforts to liberalize trade have been undermined by bureaucracy and red tape that continue to deter much-needed new investment.
President Michel Martelly, elected in 2011, lacks majority support in the legislature. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe took office in May 2012; his predecessor had resigned after just four months. Despite a U.N. Stability Mission and a better-trained and equipped national police force, civil unrest remains a constant threat. As many as 3,500 former members of the disbanded Forces Armées d’Haiti (FADH) have formed rogue paramilitary units against a backdrop of international concern over Martelly’s push to reestablish the armed forces. Most economic activity is informal. Emigrants’ remittances have yet to recover fully from the 2009 global economic downturn. Corruption, gang violence, drug trafficking, and other organized crime are pervasive, and Haiti remains the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.
Protection of property rights is severely compromised by weak enforcement, a paucity of updated laws to handle modern commercial practices, and a dysfunctional legal system. Most commercial disputes are settled out of court if at all. Widespread corruption allows disputing parties to purchase favorable outcomes. Smuggling is a major problem, and contraband accounts for a large percentage of the manufactured consumables market.
The top income and corporate tax rates are 30 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax (VAT) and a capital gains tax. The overall tax burden is estimated to be around 12 percent of GDP. Government spending is now over 30 percent of total domestic output. The budget balance has fluctuated between deficit and surplus, and public debt is around 10 percent of GDP. The government relies extensively on foreign aid.
The overall business environment remains burdensome, and completing licensing requirements takes over 1,000 days. Haiti’s already poor regulatory efficiency is further undercut by economic and political uncertainty. Since the devastating earthquake in early 2010, a large portion of the workforce has been unemployed or dependent on informal activity. Inflation has risen in the non-dollarized segment of the economy.
The trade-weighted average tariff rate is 5.1 percent, and non-tariff barriers further hamper trade freedom. Foreign investors are granted national treatment, but the investment regime is inefficient. The small financial sector remains underdeveloped and does not provide adequate support for the private sector. Most financial transactions are handled informally, and credit for new business ventures remains severely constrained.