Haiti - Economic sectors

Haiti is a traditionally agricultural economy, and almost two-thirds of the workforce (over 2 million people) are employed in farming, much of it on tiny properties. But agriculture, which is plagued by primitive techniques, soil erosion, and low commodity prices, contributed only 32 percent to the GDP in 1998. It also provided less than half of the country's food needs and less than 10 percent of export earnings. The agricultural sector is in deep crisis and is the first priority of the Aris-tide administration.

Industry is mainly based on low-wage assembly plants producing goods for export to the United States. Contributing 20 percent to the GDP in 1998, manufacturing was badly hit by the political turmoil of the 1980s and 1990s but has stabilized somewhat since 1994. About 35,000 people, or 1 percent of the total workforce, are employed in the export sector, while the domestic market

is so small and poor that only essentials such as cooking oil, cement, and beverages are produced locally.

Services accounted for 48 percent of the GDP in 1998 and largely involved retail , transportation, and government services. Approximately a million people work in trade, transport, and personal services, many of them as domestic servants. Haiti's once important tourism sector collapsed in the 1980s due to political unrest and fears about HIV/AIDS.

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