Economy of Haiti
Haiti has a market economy. Labour costs are lower than average for North America. Its major trading partner is the United States. Haiti has preferential trade access to the US market through the Haiti Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) and Haiti Economic Lift Program Encouragement Acts (HELP) legislation, which allows duty-free access, for a variety of textiles, to the US market.
Haiti has an agricultural economy. Over half of the world's vetiver oil (an essential oil used in high-end perfumes) comes from Haiti, and bananas, cocoa, and mangoes are important export crops. Haiti has also moved to expand to higher-end manufacturing, producing Android-based tablets and current sensors and transformers.
Vulnerability to natural disasters, as well as poverty and limited access to education are among Haiti's most serious disadvantages. Two-fifths of all Haitians depend on the agriculture sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. Haiti suffers from a severe trade deficit, which it is working to address by moving into higher-end manufacturing and more value-added products in the agriculture sector. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling nearly 20% of GDP. Haiti's economy was severely impacted by the 2010 Haiti earthquake which occurred on 12 January 2010. SectorsAgriculture, forestry, and fishing
Although many Haitians make their living through subsistence farming, Haiti also has an agricultural export sector. Agriculture, together with forestry and fishing, accounts for about one-quarter (28% in 2004) of Haiti's annual gross domestic product and employs about two-thirds (66% in 2004) of the labour force. Haiti's dominant cash crops include coffee, mangoes, and cocoa. Haiti has decreased its production of sugarcane, traditionally an important cash crop, because of declining prices and fierce international competition. Mining and minerals
Haiti has a mining industry which extracted minerals worth approximately US$13 million in 2013. Bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, and marble were the most extensively extracted minerals in Haiti. Lime and aggregates and to a lesser extent marble are extracted. Gold
In 2012, it was reported that confidential agreements and negotiations had been entered into by the Haitian government granting licenses for exploration or mining of gold and associated metals such as copper for over 1,000 square miles (2,600 km2) in the mineralized zone stretching from east to west across northern Haiti. Estimates for the value of the gold which might be extracted through open-pit mining are as high as US$20 billion. Manufacturing
The leading industries in Haiti produce beverages, butter, cement, detergent, edible oils, flour, refined sugar, soap, and textiles. Growth in both manufacturing and industry as a whole has been slowed by a lack of capital investment. Grants from the United States and other countries have targeted this problem, but without much success. Private home building and construction appear to be one subsector with positive prospects for growth. Energy
Haiti uses very little energy, the equivalent of approximately 250 kilograms of oil per head per year. In 2003, Haiti produced 546 million kilowatt-hours of electricity while consuming 508 million kilowatt-hours. In 2013, it stood 135th out of 135 countries in net total consumption of electricity. Services
Haiti's services sector made up 52 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2004 and employed 25 percent of the labour force. According to World Bank statistics, the services sector is one of the few sectors of Haiti's economy that sustained steady, if modest, growth throughout the 1990s. Tourism
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has joined the Haitian government in an effort to restore the island's image as a tourist destination. In 2001, 141,000 foreigners visited Haiti. Most came from the United States. To make tourism a major industry for Haiti, further improvements in hotels, restaurants and other infrastructure still are needed.
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