Haiti’s Economic Aftershocks – NYTimes.com

Different countries have relative economic strengths. The United States fosters innovation, China excels at production, but Haiti barely participates in the global economy. Yet as a low-wage country close to the world’s largest consumer market, it offers advantages. Shipping goods from Haiti is a bargain because containers importing humanitarian aid often leave here empty. Its annual exports are about a third of neighboring Jamaica and less than half of its African cousins Mali and Senegal.Yet Haiti faces big impediments to becoming a successful exporter of manufactured goods. A history of unstable governments and restrictive policies on foreign investment keep multinational corporations away. Convoluted bureaucracies and corruption make business transactions difficult. An unreliable workforce impedes efficiency.Haiti has survived as an insular country since 1804, after a revolution by slaves brought independence from France. Since then, its revolving-door governments have inconsistently invited and spurned foreign investment. Corporate and political distrust still run strong, and this extends to humanitarian efforts. Less than one percent of earthquake-disaster relief and only 15 percent of reconstruction projects have been channeled through the Haitian government. via – NYTimes.com.

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