Facts About Poverty in HaitiAs the poorest country in the western hemisphere, citizens of Haiti suffer many hardships. Here are 10 of the most important facts about poverty in Haiti.

Facts About Poverty in Haiti

  1. Haiti has high poverty rates.
    The first of the 10 facts about poverty in Haiti is in regards to the rate of poverty in the Caribbean nation. According to United Nations Development Program, 24.7 percent of Haitians live in extreme poverty, which is less than $1.25 per day. Even more, approximately 59 percent of Haitians live on less than $2 a day. However, the rate of extreme poverty has started to decline since 2000.
  2. Haiti has a large wealth disparity.
    Haiti is ranked fourth on the CIA World Factbook for income inequality. This measurement is based on the Gini coefficient, a ratio of highest to lowest incomes. For Haiti, this means that the top 20 percent of households hold 64 percent of the total wealth in the country.
  3. Haiti is prone to natural disasters.
    Haitian residents are all too familiar with natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Hurricane Matthew, a category four storm which struck Haiti in October 2017, killed 546 people and affected two million more. However, the consequences of the hurricane spanned over many months. In turn, the destruction of buildings and crops, a major source of income for Haitians, cost the country greatly.
  4. Haiti’s GDP growth has slowed.
    Haiti’s GDP growth slowed from 1.5 percent in 2016 to 1.2 percent in 2017. This is largely due to crop loss following Hurricane Matthew.
  5. Haitians suffer from energy issues.
    Haitians suffer from lack of or unreliability of electricity. According to USAID, the two key energy issues for Haiti are a broken electricity sector and a dependency on charcoal. This means that a large percentage of the population is without power and those who do have it have unreliable power. The issue remains at a standstill as a quarter of the population did not have power before the 2010 earthquake and that figure remains the same to this day.
  6. Haiti has poor leadership.
    Haiti has been led by a poor line of leaders since gaining independence from France. Pierre Esperance, director of the National Human Rights Defense Network in Haiti, said of the leaders in the L.A. Times, “They don’t really want to work for the Haitian people, to improve them. They work for themselves once they get to power. They want to steal money.”The country will need strong, dedicated leaders to better conditions, which it has never had before. However, the current president, Jovenel Moïse, has vowed to do just this. His plans include streamlining agriculture and addressing corruption.
  7. Many Haitians are malnourished.
    Approximately 100,000 children under the age of five are malnourished, while 30 percent of the overall population is considered food insecure. This means that citizens do not have ample access to nourishing food.
  8. Many Haitians do not have access to clean water.
    About one in two Haitians use unsanitary water, which has been proven to cause illnesses. In fact, about 80 percent of illnesses in developing countries are due in part to unsanitary water.
  9. Many Haitians lack an adequate education.
    Only 50 percent of children in Haiti attend school, making it more difficult to find employment in the future.
  10. Haiti has a large unemployment rate.
    In part due to the lack of education, many Haitians, about two-thirds, do not have formal jobs, resulting in unsteady incomes.

These important facts about poverty in Haiti have been prominent in Haiti for many years now. Though these issues are still severe, improvements have been made, including a leader who seems determined to better the lives of his citizens and a slowly declining poverty rate.

– Olivia Booth
Photo: Flickr

Malawi is ranked as the poorest country in the world according to GDP per capita. However, Malawi does not just consist of poverty. Below are seven facts that shed light on Malawi:

  1. It was the first country in Africa to sell tea commercially. Tea was brought to Malawi and planted there in 1878. It is now the second largest tea producer in Africa after Kenya.
  2. Malawi was the first country outside of Denmark to have a Carlsberg beer brewery. The Carlsberg Malawi Brewery Limited opened in 1968 as the first Carlberg brewery outside of Denmark. It is also the official beer of the Malawi National Football Team.
  3. Roughly one-fifth of Malawi’s land is occupied by Lake Malawi. Malawi is 45, 745 square miles and Lake Malawi takes up 11,429 square miles of that land.
  4. Lake Malawi has more species of fish than any other lake in the world. Lake Malawi has more than 1,000 species of fish within the lake.
  5. Malawi is called the warm heart of Africa. The country was nicknamed the warm heart of Africa because of its warm culture and friendly people.
  6. The country was once called Nyasaland. Malawi was Nyasaland under the British protectorate and declared itself independent in 1964 as Malawi.
  7. Malawi’s economy is the most tobacco-dependent economy in the world. Approximately 53 percent of Malawi’s exports come from tobacco products. More than 80 percent of the people of Malawi are involved in the tobacco industry.

Iona Brannon

Sources: Al Jazeera, Carlsberg Group, Encyclopedia of Earth, Fair Trade, Global Finance Magazine, InterPress Service News, Mail and Guardian Africa, US National Library of Medicine

Photo: Flickr

Poorest Country in the World Democratic Republic of Congo
You might be surprised to find that the United States isn’t the richest country in the world. Actually, that crown goes to Qatar who has recently jumped ranks to take first place. But what about the other side of the spectrum, the parts of the world struggling with devastating poverty? Well, on that end the Democratic Republic of Congo comes in first – or last, to be more accurate – as the poorest country in the world, with the lowest GDP per capita than any other country.


The Poorest Country in the World: The Democratic Republic of Congo


Determining a country’s rank in wealth isn’t the easiest of tasks when you sit down and think about the data and economics involved. However, a good indicator of a nation’s standard of living is the assessment of its GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, which is defined as the total value of all domestic goods and services that country produces annually, times its PPP or purchasing power parity. GDP per capita (PPP) isn’t a perfect shot because its purpose isn’t to calculate that kind of economic rank but it’s measured frequently, widely and consistently, allowing trends to become visible.

In 2010, GNI (gross national income) per capita replaced GDP in the calculation, but the list is the same between the two. Qatar was still first with about $100,000 GDP per capita (PPP) in 2012 just as it was on the GNI list and the Democratic Republic of Congo came in last at around $370 GDP per capita (PPP). The gap is massive.

Of the 40 poorest countries in the world, a solid 33 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. They include Zimbabwe, Burundi, Liberia, and Niger. Other parts of the world notoriously infamous for high poverty rates include Afghanistan, Haiti, and Nepal. But none of these places takes it quite as harshly as the Democratic Republic of Congo (not to be confused with the Republic of Congo) whose turbulent past and bloody wars have eclipsed the nation’s potential to thrive.

Since its independence in 1960 and once the most industrialized country in Africa, Congo has bled onto the ground because of its lack of infrastructure and the brutal impact of civil war. Disputes between Congo’s prominent rival groups, the Hutu and Tutsi, erupted after the Rwandan Genocide in which 500,000 people, mostly Tutsi, were victims of mass slaughter by the Hulus in the East African state of Rwanda.

The result was an exodus of over 2 million Rwandans fleeing to neighboring countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, known in that time as Zaire. Most of the refugees were Hulus attempting to escape the Tutsi who had climbed to dominance at the end of the genocide. The Hulu refugee camps in Zaire, however, became politicized and militarized and when Tutsi rebels invaded Zaire to repatriate the refugees, the conflict escalated into the First Congo War in 1996.

The situation only grew worse and by 1998, the Second Congo War, which was sometimes called the “African world war” because it involved a total of nine African countries and twenty armed groups, devastated Zaire and laid waste to her population and economy. The political turmoil continues today despite intervention and peace attempts and is one of the world’s deadliest conflicts with a death toll of 5.4 million people.

More than almost 90 percent of the conflict’s victims, however, died due a lack of access to shelter, water, food and medicine – all severely aggravated by displaced and overcrowded populations living in unsanitary conditions. Not to mention, 47 percent of deaths were children under 5 and some 45,000 children continue to die each month.

The nation also faces the problem of human rights and the countless crimes against humanity because while many have returned home, an estimated 1.5 million are still displaced. DR Congo is also infamous and heavily criticized for its treatment of women. The east of the country has been described as the “rape capital of the world” and rates of sexual violence has been described as the worst in the world.

It doesn’t help that DR Congo is consistently poisoned by corruption and greed. While mining growth has somewhat boosted the country’s economy, the elite are said to syphon off revenue for their own personal gain due to the nation’s lack of strong central government. Conflicts over basic resources, access and control over rich minerals and oil, and political agendas are some of the many complex causes behind the Democratic Republic of Congo’s inability to rise among the ranks and take the title of the poorest country in the world.

–  Janki Kaswala

Sources: World Bank, Maps of World
Photo: The Telegraph