In 1791, a slave revolt erupted on the French colony, and Toussaint-Louverture, a former slave, took control of the rebels. Gifted with natural military genius, Toussaint organized an effective guerrilla war against the island’s colonial population. He found able generals in two other former slaves, Dessalines and Henri Christophe, and in 1795 he made peace with revolutionary France following its abolishment of slavery. Toussaint became governor-general of the colony and in 1801 conquered the Spanish portion of island, freeing the slaves there.
In January 1802, an invasion force ordered by Napoleon landed on Saint-Domingue, and after several months of furious fighting, Toussaint agreed to a cease-fire. He retired to his plantation but in 1803 was arrested and taken to a dungeon in the French Alps, where he was tortured and died in April.
Soon after Toussaint’s arrest, Napoleon announced his intention to reintroduce slavery on Haiti, and Dessalines led a new revolt against French rule. With the aid of the British, the rebels scored a major victory against the French force there, and on November 9, 1803, colonial authorities surrendered. In 1804, General Dessalines assumed dictatorial power, and Haiti became the second independent nation in the Americas. Later that year, Dessalines proclaimed himself Emperor Jacques I. He was killed putting down a revolt two years later. Read more here: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/haitian-independence-proclaimed
211 years after its independence and many decades of bad governance, Haiti is the 23rd poorest country in the world (based on data produced by the World Bank on 185 countries).
Can President Michel Martelly improve the economic and social conditions of Haiti?
Can he lift 70% of the population who live below the poverty line out of poverty? With a population of 10.57 million and a labor force of 4.59 million, and a GDP per capita of US $820; much needs to be done.
According to the World Bank, GDP per capita is gross domestic product divided by midyear population. GDP is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources
Haiti is ranked by the World Bank as the 179th country of 187 to do business with. The economic outlook for 2016 does not look good because projections are indicating that Haiti’s ranking will go to 182nd.
Here is a prescription for improvements— Make it easier for Haitian citizens and foreign investors to do business in Haiti.
Improve the ease of doing business index. This is an index created by the World Bank Group. Higher rankings (a low numerical value) indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property rights. Empirical research funded by the World Bank to justify their work show that the effect of improving these regulations on economic growth is strong.
The index is based on the study of laws and regulations, with the input and verification by more than 9,600 government officials, lawyers, business consultants, accountants and other professionals in 185 economies who routinely advise on or administer legal and regulatory requirements.
The ease of doing business index is meant to measure regulations directly affecting businesses and does not directly measure more general conditions such as a nation’s proximity to large markets, quality of infrastructure, inflation, or crime. A nation’s ranking on the index is based on the average of 10 subindices:
Starting a business – Procedures, time, cost and minimum capital to open a new business
Dealing with construction permits – Procedures, time and cost to build a warehouse
Getting electricity – procedures, time and cost required for a business to obtain a permanent electricity connection for a newly constructed warehouse
Registering property – Procedures, time and cost to register commercial real estate
Getting credit – Strength of legal rights index, depth of credit information index
Protecting investors – Indices on the extent of disclosure, extent of director liability and ease of shareholder suits
Paying taxes – Number of taxes paid, hours per year spent preparing tax returns and total tax payable as share of gross profit
Trading across borders – Number of documents, cost and time necessary to export and import
Enforcing contracts – Procedures, time and cost to enforce a debt contract
Resolving insolvency – The time, cost and recovery rate (%) under bankruptcy proceeding
Do you think that Haiti’s economy will improve in 2016?
By Karl A. Haughton