- GDP (PPP):
- $20.8 billion
- -1.2% growth
- 0.8% 5-year compound annual growth
- $1,801 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Haiti’s economic freedom score is 50.8, making its economy the 155th freest in the 2021 Index. Its overall score has decreased by 1.5 points, primarily because of a decline in judicial effectiveness. Haiti is ranked 28th among 32 countries in the Americas region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.
The Haitian economy has very nearly dropped back into the repressed category from which it had emerged only in 2018. GDP continues to register very weak growth. Years of political volatility and weak governance have severely undermined better performance on such Index indicators as financial freedom, business freedom, property rights, judicial effectiveness, and government integrity.
IMPACT OF COVID-19: As of December 1, 2020, 233 deaths had been attributed to the pandemic in Haiti, and the economy was forecast to contract by 4.0 percent for the year.
The Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, Haiti is plagued by widespread corruption, gang violence, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Jovenel Moïse of the right-wing Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale (PHTK) began his five-year term in 2017. Legislative elections have been postponed indefinitely, and Moïse has governed by executive decree in the absence of parliamentary government. Moïse’s planned constitutional reforms will give him increasingly authoritarian control despite his unpopularity. Violent antigovernment protests, sparked by the stagnant economy and Moïse’s alleged involvement in the embezzlement of up to $2 billion from Venezuela’s now-defunct PetroCaribe program, are ongoing. Reconstruction from storm damage remains a major challenge. One-quarter of Haiti’s people live in extreme poverty.
Property interests are recognized by law, but any protection of them is difficult to obtain in practice. There is no comprehensive civil registry for real property, and legitimate property titles are often either nonexistent or in dispute. The judiciary is poorly resourced and susceptible to political pressure and corruption. Haiti was ranked 168th out of 180 countries worldwide in Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The top personal income and corporate tax rates are 30 percent. Other taxes include a value-added tax. The overall tax burden equals 13.3 percent of total domestic income. Government spending has amounted to 17.0 percent of total output (GDP) over the past three years, and budget deficits have averaged 1.3 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 47.7 percent of GDP.
Haiti’s business freedom has failed to improve for four consecutive years. Starting a business is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, and the high cost of construction permits is discouraging. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is said to be revising the labor code. Because of a political backlash, the government backed away from a gradual elimination of subsidies, particularly in the energy sector.
Haiti has one preferential trade agreement in force. The trade-weighted average tariff rate is 7.3 percent, and one formal nontariff measure is in effect. However, other barriers to trade freedom are extensive. Bureaucratic impediments, worsened by institutional shortcomings, discourage foreign investment. The strained financial infrastructure remains fragile. Many economic transactions are conducted outside of the formal banking sector.