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USIP examines why efforts to stimulate Haiti's economy have so far proven unsuccessful, and recommends options to achieve sustainability and growth in the impoverished country.

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Summary

Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars pledged to stimulate Haiti's economic development and reduce poverty, concerns remain that this funding will not reverse the country’s fortunes as Haiti continues to be vulnerable to external shocks. A new report by Bob Maguire, chair of USIP's Haiti Working Group, examines the obstacles to sustained growth, why stimulative efforts thus far have not succeeded and then recommends a way forward for both Haitians and the international community.

About the Report

Following a year of economic setbacks, natural disasters, and political tumult in Haiti, bilateral and multilateral donors convened at a mid-April 2009 conference and pledged $353 million to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth there. But it is by no means certain that this pledge— and the additional hundreds of millions of dollars coming in from earlier pledges—will reverse the country’s fortunes. At present, Haiti continues to be characterized by turmoil, a lack of sustained growth, and extremes of poverty and human suffering, and it remains highly vulnerable to external shocks. This report surveys poverty and inequality in Haiti and examines obstacles to sustained stability and growth as a means of understanding why stimulative efforts have not succeeded thus far. It offers conclusions and recommendations aimed at providing Haitians and their international supporters a way forward for achieving sustained stability and growth and for lessening the country’s turmoil and vulnerability to external shocks.

Robert Maguire, a Haiti specialist, is an associate professor of international affairs at Trinity Washington University. He was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 2008–09 and currently serves as the chair of the Institute’s Haiti Working Group.

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