Poverty Challenges in Haiti Research Paper

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[. . .] A system of governance that highly relies on foreign aid and borrowings is what characterizes the nature of the Haitian government. Structural reforms undertaken since 1995 have not adequately measured their impact on distribution of resources and structural constraints of the economy.

Policies and deregulation programs rarely follow initiatives to strengthen the supply chains of resource allocation and distribution. Various social aspects of the Haitian society contribute to increased poverty levels. Social aspects that have an effect on the poverty situation may include cultural beliefs and perceptions towards formal education and health services. Cultural beliefs that do not allow education of women are a factor for the many illiterate women in the rural areas of Haiti. Early school dropout by young people is also an attribute to the cultural formation of Haiti, which does not see the importance of formal education mainly to the young generation. The education system is poor and uses French, which is a foreign tongue to the masses. Research shows that, overcrowding in schools and the use of harsh punishments to punish students chase many young people away from schools. Lack of social infrastructures such as roads and healthcare does not allow economic advancement to people of Haiti especially in the rural areas. There are no passable roads for transportation of farm produce to the market places. Poor health facilities, electricity and water systems hinder various economic and social activities from taking place efficiently in Haiti.

Natural calamities and disasters have significantly increased poverty levels in Haiti. A natural calamity such as the tsunami and earthquakes, which causes massive destruction of property and deaths of people, is a blow to the already worse poverty situation in Haiti. Poor measures to handle disasters and emergencies in Haiti accelerate the effects of natural calamities. According to a study by Lundahal (2013, p. 186), geographically, Haiti is in an area, which particularly exposes it to threats of tropical cyclones. Studies show that, for the past 200 years people have been cutting trees in the mountainous regions without replanting. This has the effect of causing massive soil erosion from the uplands to the Caribbean Sea. The consequences of this soil erosion are increased poverty levels due to lack of fuel and suitable land for agricultural activities. Ignorance and lack of education concerning the effects of environmental degradation are the main causes of the continuous soil erosion. The government poor response to natural disasters and poor formulation of policies to handle emergencies increases the effects of natural calamities when they occur. Lundahal (2013, p. 187) notes that, constant dependence of the Haitian government on foreign aid during times of calamities does not allow them to formulate strategies that effectively mitigate the occurrence of disasters.

Foreign aid from donor governments and international bodies such as IMF, U.S. Aid and UN Aid are the independent variables that either positively or negatively affect the poverty condition in Haiti. Internal governments and donor agencies highly influences the situation in Haiti. These bodies influence policies and regulations in Haiti and determine implementation of development programs. For many decades, IMF and UN Aid have participated in the provision of aid to the development programs and projects in Haiti. Submission of huge amounts of funds to the Haiti government and NGOs takes place with the aim of promoting the lives of poor people in Haiti. IMF Aid in particular takes a role in analysis the development needs of the nation and comes up with special funds that will promote the lives of people and reduce the level of poverty especially in the rural areas of the country. According to a report by IMF (2001, p. 39), the body prepares a consultation and monitored program that looks into the main factors that cause poverty in Haiti. The report provides information concerning the effects of poverty to the people and the environment. According to the report, the body finds out that the country suffers from severe environmental problems which results from the high levels of poverty, high population pressures and political instability. From the 2001 report by IMF, the body influences much of the government spending into beneficial sectors such as education, health and justice. The IMF does this by directing large percentages of its funds to such areas. Haiti's yearly budgets rely heavily on the funds provided by UN Aid and IMF. IMF report (2001) indicate that, apart from providing funds to the nation's development programs, the body also offers technical assistance in the form of missions and short-term visits of experts.

International Aid bodies support projects and programs that target poverty eradication in Haiti. Yearly reports by IMF indicate that necessary efforts are in place to maintain strong macroeconomic stability and strong political consensus for the implementation of structural reforms especially in the framework of poverty reduction strategy. In ensuring a political stable environment in Haiti, international agencies such as the U.S. Aid and the United Nations stabilization missions continually deployed to Haiti since June 2004. International bodies ensure peaceful coexistence in Haiti and regulate the carrying out of democratic rights of the citizens especially during general elections. As independent variables to the poverty problem in Haiti, foreign aid and other determinants of poverty such as natural calamities are both controllable and non-controllable. The Haiti government cannot totally prevent the occurrence of natural disasters but can put measures in place to reduce the effect of the calamities. Effective measures are available through a strong support of the willing government to handle the occurrence of disasters such as earthquakes and cyclones.

Political stability and maintenance of a stable economy by the Haiti government can put away foreign participation into their activities. Positive impact of foreign body's participation in reducing the poverty levels in Haiti. Foreign aid is unavoidable in times of problems and extreme levels of poverty especially in the case of Haiti. Foreign aid inform of soft loans that are invested in self-sustaining projects are necessary for the revival of the Haiti economy. Foreign loan investments in projects that generate revenues to repay the loans are necessary for the development of the nation. According to IMF report (2009,p.5), budget supplements advanced to the Haiti government in the financial year 2007/2008 helped to reduce sterilization of economic projects and cut down the cost of basic commodities to the poor people. U.S. Aid participation in the regulation of budget execution and implementation for the benefit of the poor is a positive aspect of foreign bodies' participation in the Haiti economy. According to the UN Aid special convoy for Haiti, the mandate of the foreign aids should be to assist the Haitian government and its people in implementing their vision and priorities.

Independent variables to the poverty situation in Haiti such as the foreign aid also have a tremendous effect. Advancement of loans by monetary organizations such as IMF leads to increased burden to the Haiti government. Most of the foreign aids are loans that result in debt crisis to the government of Haiti. Among the factors that accelerate poverty levels in Haiti is poor governance, poor distribution of resources and corruption. Foreign aid to Haiti is subject to embezzlement by the few elite at the expense of the suffering of many poor citizens. Direction of huge percentages of the foreign aids into beneficial projects does not take place. Research conducted by IMF covering 118 countries for the period 1980-2009 indicate that, foreign aid especially to poor and developing countries causes crowding out effect. Foreign aid has strong negative effect on domestic tax revenues in low-income countries. Crowding out effect takes place in the form of reducing the domestic tax revenues. Foreign aid in the form of grants has negative effects on revenues in countries with weak institutions. Foreign aid from U.S. Aid in terms of food to the Haiti people for example significantly affects agriculture in the nation. The aid result to locking out of Haiti farmers from business. From the above arguments, foreign aid should only supplement Haiti's personal efforts to reduce poverty levels. Foreign aid further leads to too much participation of foreign nations into the activities of Haiti. External control of their activities denies the nation to make its own decision without external influence.

Another factor that affects poverty in Haiti is occupational history and environmental degradation. History shows that, under the French rule in 1700s, Haiti was the wealthiest colony in the new world. After a successful revolve and abolishment of slavery, American occupation into the land brought a corrupt regime, natural disasters and environment degradation. HIV / AIDS pandemic is also a significant contributor to the poverty experienced today in Haiti. American occupation in the land for many decades deprived the nation a chance to develop and explore its resources for self-benefits. Haiti also had to pay a huge indemnity to France or else many countries USA included would fail to recognize Haiti as a sovereign state. Historical analysis of events explains the reason to the current poverty situation in Haiti. Poor political history… [END OF PREVIEW]

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