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page last updated on May 7, 2013
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Location of Haiti
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Introduction ::Haiti
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The native Taino - who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1492 - were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'OUVERTURE. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first post-colonial black-led nation in the world, declaring its independence in 1804. Currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has experienced political instability for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations. Continued instability and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti inaugurated a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006. This was followed by contested elections in 2010 that resulted in the election of Haiti's current President, Michel MARTELLY. A massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010 with an epicenter about 25 km (15 mi) west of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Estimates are that over 300,000 people were killed and some 1.5 million left homeless. The earthquake was assessed as the worst in this region over the last 200 years.
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Geography ::Haiti
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Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic
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19 00 N, 72 25 W
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total: 27,750 sq km
country comparison to the world: 148
land: 27,560 sq km
water: 190 sq km
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slightly smaller than Maryland
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total: 360 km
border countries: Dominican Republic 360 km
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1,771 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
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tropical; semiarid where mountains in east cut off trade winds
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mostly rough and mountainous
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lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Chaine de la Selle 2,680 m
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bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, hydropower
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arable land: 36.04%
permanent crops: 10.09%
other: 53.87% (2011)
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970 sq km (2009)
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14.03 cu km (2011)
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total: 1.2 cu km/yr (17%/3%/80%)
per capita: 134.3 cu m/yr (2009)
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lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October; occasional flooding and earthquakes; periodic droughts
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extensive deforestation (much of the remaining forested land is being cleared for agriculture and used as fuel); soil erosion; inadequate supplies of potable water
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes
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shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic)
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People and Society ::Haiti
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noun: Haitian(s)
adjective: Haitian
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black 95%, mulatto and white 5%
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French (official), Creole (official)
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Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%), none 1%, other 3%
note: roughly half of the population practices voodoo
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9,893,934 (July 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
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0-14 years: 34.6% (male 1,716,917/female 1,708,978)
15-24 years: 21.5% (male 1,064,069/female 1,066,614)
25-54 years: 34.8% (male 1,713,478/female 1,729,432)
55-64 years: 5% (male 235,278/female 258,330)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 178,842/female 221,996) (2013 est.)
population pyramid:
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total: 21.9 years
male: 21.6 years
female: 22.1 years (2013 est.)
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0.99%
country comparison to the world: 117
note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (2013 est.)
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23.35 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
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8 deaths/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 99
note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (2013 est.)
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-5.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
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urban population: 52% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 3.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
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PORT-AU-PRINCE (capital) 2.143 million (2010)
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at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
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350 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 33
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total: 50.92 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 41
male: 54.85 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 46.94 deaths/1,000 live births
note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (2013 est.)
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total population: 62.85 years
country comparison to the world: 186
male: 61.46 years
female: 64.25 years
note: the preliminary 2011 numbers differ significantly from those of 2010, which were strongly influenced by the demographic effect of the January 2010 earthquake; the latest figures more closely correspond to those of 2009 (2013 est.)
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2.88 children born/woman (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
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6.9% of GDP (2010)
country comparison to the world: 83
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0.25 physicians/1,000 population (1998)
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1.3 beds/1,000 population (2007)
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improved:
urban: 85% of population
rural: 51% of population
total: 69% of population
unimproved:
urban: 15% of population
rural: 49% of population
total: 31% of population (2010 est.)
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improved:
urban: 24% of population
rural: 10% of population
total: 17% of population
unimproved:
urban: 76% of population
rural: 90% of population
total: 83% of population (2010 est.)
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1.9% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
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120,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
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7,100 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
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7.9% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 137
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18.9% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 38
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NA
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 52.9%
male: 54.8%
female: 51.2% (2003 est.)
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Government ::Haiti
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conventional long form: Republic of Haiti
conventional short form: Haiti
local long form: Republique d'Haiti/Repiblik d' Ayiti
local short form: Haiti/Ayiti
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republic
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name: Port-au-Prince
geographic coordinates: 18 32 N, 72 20 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
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10 departments (departements, singular - departement); Artibonite, Centre, Grand'Anse, Nippes, Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est
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1 January 1804 (from France)
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Independence Day, 1 January (1804)
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approved March 1987; this is Haiti's 23rd constitution
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civil law system strongly influenced by Napoleonic Code
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
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18 years of age; universal
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chief of state: President Michel MARTELLY (since 14 May 2011)
head of government: Prime Minister Laurent LAMOTHE (since 16 May 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 28 November 2010; runoff on 20 March 2011 (next to be held in 2015); prime minister appointed by the president, ratified by the National Assembly
election results: Michel MARTELLY won the runoff election held on 20 March 2011 with 67.6% of the vote against 31.7% for Mirlande MANIGAT
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bicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale consists of the Senate (30 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms; one-third elected every two years) and the Chamber of Deputies (99 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms);
elections: Senate - last held on 28 November 2010 with run-off elections on 20 March 2011 (next regular election, for one third of seats, scheduled for 2012 but delayed); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 28 November 2010 with run-off elections on 20 March 2011 (next regular election to be held in 2014)
election results: 2010 Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Inite 6, ALTENATIV 4, LAVNI 1; 2010 Chamber of Deputies- percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Inite 32, Altenativ 11, Ansanm Nou Fo 10, AAA 8, LAVNI 7, RASANBLE 4, KONBIT 3, MOCHRENA 3, Platforme Liberation 3, PONT 3, Repons Peyizan 3, Independent 2, MAS 2, MODELH-PRDH 1, PLAPH 1, RESPE 1, Veye Yo 1, vacant 4
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Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation
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Assembly of Progressive National Democrats or RDNP [Mirlande MANIGAT]; Christian and Citizen For Haiti's Reconstruction or ACCRHA [Chavannes JEUNE]; Convention for Democratic Unity or KID [Evans PAUL]; Cooperative Action to Rebuild Haiti or KONBA [Jean William JEANTY]; December 16 Platform or Platfom 16 Desanm [Dr. Gerard BLOT]; Democratic Alliance or ALYANS [Evans PAUL] (coalition composed of KID and PPRH); Democratic Centers's National Council or CONACED [Osner FEVRY]; Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Haiti-Revolutionary Party of Haiti or MODELH-PRDH; Effort and Solidarity to Create an Alternative for the People or ESKAMP [Joseph JASME]; Fanmi Lavalas or FL [Jean-Bertrand ARISTIDE]; For Us All or PONT [Jean-Marie CHERESTAL]; Grouping of Citizens for Hope or RESPE [Charles-Henri BAKER]; Haiti in Action or AAA [Youri LATORTUE]; Haitians for Haiti [Yvon NEPTUNE]; Independent Movement for National Reconstruction or MIRN [Luc FLEURINORD]; Konbit Pou refe Ayiti or KONBIT; Lavni Organization or LAVNI [Yves CRISTALIN]; Liberal Party of Haiti or PLH [Jean Andre VICTOR]; Liberation Platform or PLATFORME LIBERATION; Love Haiti or Renmen Ayiti [Jean-Henry CEANT and Camille LEBLANC]; Merging of Haitian Social Democratics or FUSION [Edmonde Supplice BEAUZILE] (coalition of Ayiti Capable, Haitian National Revolutionary Party, and National Congress of Democratic Movements); Mobilization for National Development or MDN [Hubert de RONCERAY]; National Front for the Reconstruction of Haiti or FRN [Guy PHILIPPE]; New Christian Movement for a New Haiti or MOCHRENA [Luc MESADIEU]; Peasant's Response or Repons Peyizan [Michel MARTELLY]; Platform Alternative for Progress and Democracy or ALTENATIV [Victor BENOIT and Evans PAUL]; Platform of Haitian Patriots or PLAPH [Dejean BELISAIRE and Himmler REBU]; Popular Party for the Renewal of Haiti or PPRH [Claude ROMAIN]; Rally or RASAMBLE; Respect or RESPE; Socialist Action Movement or MAS; Strength in Unity or Ansanm Nou Fo [Leslie VOLTAIRE]; Struggling People's Organization or OPL [Sauveur PIERRE-ETIENNE]; Union [Chavannes JEUNE]; Union of Haitian Citizens for Democracy, Development, and Education or UCADDE [Jeantel JOSEPH]; Union of Nationalist and Progressive Haitians or UNPH [Edouard FRANCISQUE]; Unity or Inite [Levaillant LOUIS-JEUNE] (coalition that includes Front for Hope or L'ESPWA); Vigilance or Veye Yo [Lavarice GAUDIN]; Youth for People's Power or JPP [Rene CIVIL]
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Autonomous Organizations of Haitian Workers or CATH [Fignole ST-CYR]; Confederation of Haitian Workers or CTH; Economic Forum of the Private Sector or EF [Reginald BOULOS]; Federation of Workers Trade Unions or FOS; General Organization of Independent Haitian Workers [Patrick NUMAS]; Grand-Anse Resistance Committee, or KOREGA; The Haitian Association of Industries or ADIH [Georges SASSINE]; National Popular Assembly or APN; Papaye Peasants Movement or MPP [Chavannes JEAN-BAPTISTE]; Popular Organizations Gathering Power or PROP; Protestant Federation of Haiti; Roman Catholic Church
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ACP, AOSIS, Caricom, CD, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Paul Getty ALTIDOR
chancery: 2311 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-4090
FAX: [1] (202) 745-7215
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
consulate(s): Orlando (FL)
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chief of mission: Ambassador Pamela A. WHITE
embassy: Tabarre 41, Route de Tabarre, Port-au-Prince
mailing address: (in Haiti) P.O. Box 1634, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; (from abroad) 3400 Port-au-Prince, State Department, Washington, DC 20521-3400
telephone: [509] 2229-8000
FAX: [509] 229-8028
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two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a centered white rectangle bearing the coat of arms, which contains a palm tree flanked by flags and two cannons above a scroll bearing the motto L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE (Union Makes Strength); the colors are taken from the French Tricolor and represent the union of blacks and mulattoes
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Hispaniolan trogon (bird)
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name: "La Dessalinienne" (The Dessalines Song)

lyrics/music: Justin LHERISSON/Nicolas GEFFRARD
note: adopted 1904; the anthem is named for Jean-Jacques DESSALINES, a leader in the Haitian Revolution and first ruler of an independent Haiti
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Economy ::Haiti
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Haiti is a free market economy that enjoys the advantages of low labor costs and tariff-free access to the US for many of its exports. Poverty, corruption, vulnerability to natural disasters, and low levels of education for much of the population are among Haiti's most serious impediments to economic growth. Haiti's economy suffered a severe setback in January 2010 when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed much of its capital city, Port-au-Prince, and neighboring areas. Currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty, the earthquake further inflicted $7.8 billion in damage and caused the country's GDP to contract 5.4% in 2010. In 2011, the Haitian economy had begun recovering slowly from the effects of the earthquake. However, two hurricanes adversely affected agricultural output and the slow public capital spending negatively affected the economic recovery in 2012. GDP growth for 2012 was 2.8%, down from 5.6% in 2011. Two-fifths of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country's widespread deforestation. US economic engagement under the Caribbean Basin Trade Preference Agreement (CBTPA) and the 2008 Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE II) Act helped increase apparel exports and investment by providing duty-free access to the US. Congress voted in 2010 to extend the CBTPA and HOPE II until 2020 under the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act; the apparel sector accounts for about 90% of Haitian exports and nearly one-twentieth of GDP. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equaling 20% of GDP and representing more than five times the earnings from exports in 2012. Haiti suffers from a lack of investment, partly because of weak infrastructure such as access to electricity. In 2005, Haiti paid its arrears to the World Bank, paving the way for reengagement with the Bank. Haiti received debt forgiveness for over $1 billion through the Highly-Indebted Poor Country initiative in mid-2009. The remainder of its outstanding external debt was cancelled by donor countries following the 2010 earthquake, but has since risen to nearly $1 billion. The government relies on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability, with over half of its annual budget coming from outside sources. The MARTELLY administration in 2011 launched a campaign aimed at drawing foreign investment into Haiti as a means for sustainable development. To that end, the MARTELLY government in 2012 created a Commission for Commercial Code Reform, effected reforms to the justice sector, and inaugurated the Caracol industrial park in Haiti's north coast.
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$12.92 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$12.57 billion (2011 est.)
$11.9 billion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
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$7.895 billion (2012 est.)
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2.8% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116
5.6% (2011 est.)
-5.4% (2010 est.)
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$1,300 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
$1,300 (2011 est.)
$1,200 (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
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agriculture: 25%
industry: 9%
services: 66% (2012 est.)
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4.81 million
country comparison to the world: 80
note: shortage of skilled labor, unskilled labor abundant (2010 est.)
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agriculture: 38.1%
industry: 11.5%
services: 50.4% (2010)
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40.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
note: widespread unemployment and underemployment; more than two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs
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80% (2003 est.)
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lowest 10%: 0.7%
highest 10%: 47.7% (2001)
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59.2 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 7
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37% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
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revenues: $1.001 billion
expenditures: $1.114 billion (2012 est.)
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12.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
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-1.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
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6.7% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
7.4% (2011 est.)
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10.03% (31 October 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
11.61% (31 December 2011 est.)
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$1.09 billion (31 October 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$1.786 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
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$3.509 billion (31 October 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
$3.43 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
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$2.04 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
$1.893 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
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$NA
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coffee, mangoes, cocoa, sugarcane, rice, corn, sorghum; wood, vetiver
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textiles, sugar refining, flour milling, cement, light assembly based on imported parts
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7% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
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$-1.509 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
$-1.728 billion (2011 est.)
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$785 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
$767.5 million (2011 est.)
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apparel, manufactures, oils, cocoa, mangoes, coffee
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US 83.9% (2011)
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$2.64 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
$2.985 billion (2011 est.)
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food, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, fuels, raw materials
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Dominican Republic 31.5%, US 25%, the former countries of Netherlands Antilles 8.6%, China 7.1% (2011)
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$1.307 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
$1.195 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
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$1.125 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
$674.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)
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$753.3 million (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
$603.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)
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gourdes (HTG) per US dollar -
40.52 (2012 est.)
40.52 (2011 est.)
39.8 (2010 est.)
42.02 (2009)
39.22 (2008)
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1 October - 30 September
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Energy ::Haiti
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726 million kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
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208.5 million kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
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0 kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
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0 kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
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130,000 kW (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
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79% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
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0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
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21% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
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0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
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0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
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0 bbl (1 January 2012 es)
country comparison to the world: 144
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0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
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14,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
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0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
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15,130 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
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0 cu m (1 January 2012 es)
country comparison to the world: 147
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1.457 million Mt (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
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Communications ::Haiti
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50,000 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 164
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4.2 million (2011)
country comparison to the world: 115
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general assessment: telecommunications infrastructure is among the least developed in Latin America and the Caribbean; domestic facilities barely adequate; international facilities slightly better
domestic: mobile-cellular telephone services are expanding rapidly due, in part, to the introduction of low-cost GSM phones; mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 40 per 100 persons
international: country code - 509; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
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several TV stations, including 1 government-owned; cable TV subscription service available; government-owned radio network; more than 250 private and community radio stations with about 50 FM stations in Port-au-Prince alone (2007)
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.ht
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555 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 181
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1 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 100
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Transportation ::Haiti
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14 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 149
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total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2012)
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total: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 8 (2012)
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total: 4,266 km
country comparison to the world: 155
paved: 768 km
unpaved: 3,498 km (2009)
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Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Jacmel, Port-au-Prince
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Military ::Haiti
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no regular military forces - small Coast Guard; a Ministry of National Defense established May 2012; the regular Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) - Army, Navy, and Air Force - have been demobilized but still exist on paper until or unless they are constitutionally abolished (2011)
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males age 16-49: 2,398,804
females age 16-49: 2,415,039 (2010 est.)
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males age 16-49: 1,666,324
females age 16-49: 1,704,364 (2010 est.)
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male: 115,246
female: 115,282 (2010 est.)
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0.4% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 164
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Transnational Issues ::Haiti
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since 2004, peacekeepers from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti have assisted in maintaining civil order in Haiti; the mission currently includes 6,685 military, 2,607 police, and 443 civilian personnel; despite efforts to control illegal migration, Haitians cross into the Dominican Republic and sail to neighboring countries; Haiti claims US-administered Navassa Island
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IDPs: 357,785 (includes only IDPs from the 2010 earthquake living in camps or camp-like situations; information is lacking about IDPs living outside camps or who have left camps) (2012)
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Caribbean transshipment point for cocaine en route to the US and Europe; substantial bulk cash smuggling activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Haiti for illicit financial transactions; pervasive corruption; significant consumer of cannabis
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  The online Factbook is updated weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
For additional information on government leaders in selected foreign countries, go to World Leaders.