How Can Haiti’s Growth Improve?

How can Haiti grow — and grow in a different way?

By Dana Niland
CJ Contributor

A new report from the World Bank Group has outlined key opportunities and constraints to faster sustainable and inclusive growth in Haiti.

The report cites the nation’s growing young labor force and proximity to the United States and other major markets as points of potential economic opportunities in agribusiness, light manufacturing and tourism.

With a real growth rate averaging 3.3 percent from 2011 to 2014, Haiti has experienced its best performance in decades following its 2010 earthquake, partially as a result of reconstruction aid.

According to Mary Barton-Doc, World Bank Special Envoy in Haiti, however, this growth is slowing and will not be sufficient for Haiti to achieve its goal of becoming an emerging economy by 2030.

“Haiti is at a cross road and this diagnostic identifies key priority areas for action to generate opportunities for all Haitians,” she said.

The report’s authors note that the state struggles to provide adequate services to its citizens or a hospitable climate for business.

Non-government agencies currently provide about 50 percent of health expenditures and run about 80 percent of primary and secondary schools.

The report aims to promote a debate around the social contract in the nation, which is currently in the midst of its legislative, presidential, and municipal elections.

Other key priorities cited include maintaining the stability of the macroeconomic environment, supporting the creation of more and better jobs, and reducing vulnerabilities and building resilience to natural disasters, violence, and poor investment.