Indeed, Haiti is cataloged as a developing country. In fact, as of 2021, Haiti had a Gross National Income per capita of $1,420 (USD), the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s the poorest country in this region based on recent standards, ranking 163rd out of 191 countries in 2020 on the Human Development Index. But why is that? Keep reading to find out!

Why Is Haiti the Poorest Caribbean Country?

There’s no single thing that contributes to Haiti’s slow development and financial pitfalls. Numerous earthquakes have shaken the country throughout the years, political and institutional crises discouraged the people, and violent gangs knocked the last nail in the coffin. Between 2019 and 2021, the economy contracted three times, leaving many business owners unable to continue operating.

Haiti regularly received external aid from the UN, but this hasn’t done much to alleviate the poverty in the country. Over half of the population still lives below the poverty line. The mismanagement of the humanitarian relief funds combined with a depreciation of the gourde (Haiti’s national currency) has further strained the economy in recent years. Not even the tourism sector, once Haiti’s savior, can cope with the financial pitfalls.

Epidemics, natural disasters, gang warfare, the interference of foreign powers, the 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moïse, and political turmoil have put Haiti in a tough spot over the years.

What Can Be Done to Help Haiti?

Just like the reasons for Haiti’s current situation, there isn’t just one thing that can be done to help the country rise. For starters, we should abolish political corruption because that’s where many other problems originate from. The numerous gangs around Haiti are also becoming increasingly violent, endangering both locals and tourists. It’s not for nothing that many believe Haiti to be a dangerous tourist spot.

Then, the humanitarian funds should be treated with utmost professionalism and expertise. Many times in the past, politicians badly mishandled the funds, and the lives of Haitians didn’t change for the better in the end. This resulted from a lack of city planning and substandard infrastructure, combined with a large dependence on subsistence farming


Farming in Haiti has almost no potential for development because the people can’t afford it. Even today, over half of the population subsists through agriculture and not much else. Their finances are abysmally low, leading to poor future prospects and a vicious cycle. If something is to change, then it has to start with the common citizen and what they do for a living.

Does Tourism Help the Country?

Yes, tourism is of immense help to Haiti. This is also a form of help, humanitarian aid, if you will. Coming here on vacation and spending money on souvenirs, hotels like Residence Royale, and buying local food, will all help the economy recuperate. Unfortunately, that’s often not enough to improve the lives of Haitians around the country. Even tourism has suffered a sharp decline in recent years due to natural disasters, the assassination of the president, and an increase in gang violence.

It’s a good thing that Haitian products are generally high-quality, and tourists adore them. Whether it’s Haitian Kremas, traditional clothes, or local cooking, tourists tend to take very well to them. It’s also why many Haitian entrepreneurs have risen from Haiti, bringing these ideas outside the country and finding success with them. We need more of these people, and we need to support them.

Haiti might be a poor country today, but we believe it has the potential to rise above its station one day!

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