(Miami Herald) – As Haiti’s presidential campaigning slowly gains momentum amid continuing uncertainty about the fate of the country’s scheduled Oct. 25 elections, a new World Bank report calls for a social contract to improve the lives of all Haitians.
The report notes that natural disasters and political instability have greatly affected Haiti’s anemic economy and contributed to the 6 million Haitians living in poverty on less than $2.25 a day. At the same time, a bad business environment has not encouraged private investments, while insecurity in the urban centers has sharply increased with the crime rate in metropolitan Port-au-Prince reaching critical levels.
“Policies to ensure more inclusiveness are needed,” the report said.
The call comes as the International Monetary Fund estimates that the Haitian economy only grew between 1 and 2 percent this fiscal year, and Haiti’s Finance Minister Wilson Laleau concedes that it has been difficult to finance the upcoming budget. Foreign assistance is down to less than $500 million from $1.5 billion, Laleau said, and there is less available financing under Venezuela’s PetroCaribe discounted-oil program because of low oil prices.