A macroeconomic program developed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Haiti enabled the country to post an economic growth rate of 1.8% in 2006. Continued international assistance and an improved investment scenario enabled the country to improve its economic growth to 3.4% in 2007. However, the global economic crisis of 2007-09 and its consequent impact on export demand led to a slowdown in growth in 2008 to 1.3% and negative growth of 0.5% in 2009.
Haiti continues to receive significant aid and has also received debt forgiveness for about $525 million through the Highly-Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative in 2009. Haiti’s apparel segment has received a boost through US economic engagement under the Haitian Hemispheric The Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act was passed in December 2006 and HOPE II was passed in 2008. Consequently, apparel exports from Haiti have surged in recent years and account for two thirds of the country’s total exports, while contributing one tenth of its GDP. Remittances from expatriates are a major source of foreign income and contribute nearly a quarter of the country’s GDP.
Haiti’s economic stagnation is the result of inappropriate economic policies, political instability for a long time, shortage of good arable land, environmental disasters, inadequate investments and migration of large portions of the skilled population.