Foreign aid to Haiti

Haiti—an island country 600 miles off the coast of Florida—shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Haiti has received billions in foreign assistance, yet persists as one of the poorest countries. There have been more than 15 natural disasters since 2001 including tropical storms, flooding, earthquakes and hurricanes. The international donor community classifies Haiti as a fragile state. Haiti is also considered a post-conflict state—one emerging from a recent coup d'état and civil war.

United States Aid to Haiti

Political insecurity and the failure of Haiti's governments to invest in developing the country's natural and human resources contribute significantly to the country's current state of underdevelopment. U.S. efforts to strengthen democracy and to rebuild Haiti's economy aim to rectify this condition. The U.S. has been Haiti's largest donor since 1973. Between the fiscal years of 1995 and 1999, the U.S. contributed roughly $884 million in assistance to Haiti.[1] Although there has been $13 billion in aid money given to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, many people still live in bad conditions. According to page 35 of the Greening Aid book there are key questions that arise on where the money flows and why.

Among the initiatives United States funds have supported are:

  • Food assistance programs that include a school lunch program that feeds around 500,000 children daily
  • Agricultural development programs that have endeavored to revitalize Haiti's coffee sector and to help thousands of Haitian farmers adopt sustainable agricultural practices and protect the environment
  • Teacher training programs that have included 6,000 educators at the primary and secondary level
  • Population programs that have expanded modern family planning practices in many rural areas
  • Health care programs that have supported child immunization and have helped provide primary care to nearly half of the Haitian population[2]

Human Resources

In addition to financial support, the U.S. provides human resources. Many private U.S. citizens travel regularly to Haiti or reside there for extended periods to work in humanitarian projects. There is currently no Peace Corps program in Haiti, and Peace Corps volunteers living in the neighboring Dominican Republic are prohibited from crossing the border.

Economic development

Haiti has been plagued for decades by extremely high unemployment and underemployment. The precipitous decline in urban assembly sector jobs, from a high of 80,000 in 1986 to fewer than 17,000 in 1994, exacerbated the scarcity of jobs. To revitalize the economy, U.S. assistance has attempted to create opportunities for stable, sustainable employment for the growing population, particularly those who compose the country's vast informal economy. A post-intervention transitional program of short-term job creation, principally in small towns and rural areas, provided employment to as many as 50,000 workers per day throughout the country. More recently, programs that help to increase commercial bank lending to small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs, especially in the agricultural sector, have helped to create jobs and foster economic growth.

Additional U.S. efforts in economic revitalization include the establishment of the U.S.-Haiti Business Development Council, an Overseas Private Investment Corporation commercial loan program, and inclusion of Haiti within the Caribbean Basin Initiative. These efforts provide greater market opportunities for American and Haitian businesses. Current Congressional prohibitions on providing assistance to or through the Haitian government has accelerated the move to private voluntary agencies as contractors to oversee the use of U.S. aid funds.

Throughout the 2001–2004 time period the United States Chamber of Commerce backed a government aid embargo upon Haiti's elected Aristide government. This led to economic decline. Haiti's government budget was approximately 30-40 percent dependent on the cut-off aid.

Obama-era to Trump-era Transition on Haiti

During Barack Obama’s eight-year presidential service, his administration pledged United States’ assistance in Haitian foreign relief programs assisting global health, economic security, and food-related aid. Some of the goals of the U.S. Global Health Initiatives (GHI) include: HIV/AIDS prevention of 12 million individuals, reduction of Malaria for 225 million, and reduced mortality rates of 35% across all assisted nations. President Obama pledged $3.5 billion in a global hunger and food security investment from 2010 to 2012.[3] The implementation of GHI and the Global Food Security Initiative (Feed the Future) contributed to an increase in total aid provided during the period of 2012 to 2015. The early years resulted in an increase and over usage of appropriated funding. Budget pressures and an overall lack of congressional support may have contributed to the blunting of foreign aid initiatives, however, they were deemed successful by the fact that they brought to light the importance of food security and agricultural development in foreign nations such as Haiti.

A few days after President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, the State Department conducted a formal review of the United States' economic support fund. The review was specifically centered around the Obama Administration’s flurry of foreign aid contributions and initiatives made during the final two months of his term. In his first State of the Union address, President Trump iterated a theme of “America First,” proclaiming his dislike of programs like democracy promotion and generic humanitarian aid aimed largely at countries in Latin America. President Trump insists that Congress pass laws to ensure that “American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to "America’s friends."[4] However, only about one percent of the United States federal budget goes to foreign aid — 40% considered security assistance, rather than economic or humanitarian aid.

Canadian Aid to Haiti

Canada–Haiti relations are relations between Canada and Haiti. During the unsettled period from 1957 to 1990, Canada received many Haitian refugees, who now form a significant minority in Quebec. Canada participated in various international interventions in Haiti between 1994 and 2004, and continues to provide substantial aid to Haiti.[5]

UN Aid to Haiti

The USA is the largest foreign source of relief aid to Haiti from the 2010 Haiti earthquake, although in December 2011, the Haitian President Michel Martelly said that "The cooperation with Venezuela is the most important in Haiti right now in terms of impact, direct impact.".[7] USA, through USAID is giving more than $712 million in aid. However, this amount also comprises donations of many non-governmental organizations such as World Vision and the Red Cross accumulated from different parts of the globe through various campaigns in support of Haiti.[8] In comparison, the EU and the 27 member-states alone are providing over 400 million euro, which is about $650 million.[9]

Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake Venezuela made substantial contributions to the humanitarian response to the earthquake, pledging $1.3bn in aid in addition to cancelling $395m in PetroCaribe debt.[7][10][11] Projects included the construction of three power plants, which provided a fifth of Haiti's electricity in December 2011.[7]

A country by country Excel report can be seen here, where the EU countries are presented separately, and the US contribution is diminished to about 460 million dollars.[12] (*Represents aid tied to 2010 earthquake relief)

WORLD TOTAL 2,422,202,996

Country/organisation ISO country code Funding, committed and uncommitted,
Others 639,381,379
Private (individuals & organisations) 593,639,219
United States US 466,879,506
Canada CA 130,733,775
World Bank (emergency grant) 82,107,356
Japan JP 70,744,798
Saudi Arabia SA 50,000,000
Spain ES 47,664,745
European Commission 43,290,043
France FR 33,844,153
United Kingdom UK 33,070,138
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 27,976,462
Norway NO 25,298,044
Sweden SE 25,039,684
Germany DE 21,645,022
Brazil BR 16,884,782
Denmark DK 16,288,032
Australia AU 13,489,209
China CN 10,813,535
UN & agencies 1
Italy IT 9,302,037
Switzerland CH 8,932,039
Finland FI 8,005,607
Russian Federation RU 5,700,000
Netherlands NL 83,448,252
India IN 5,000,000
United Arab Emirates AE 3,209,113
Ghana GH 3,000,000
Ireland IE 2,886,002
Donors not specified 2,219,169
Indonesia ID 1,700,000
Czech Republic CZ 1,154,401
Belgium BE 1,151,876
Poland PL 1,089,466
New Zealand NZ 1,000,000
Morocco MA 1,000,000
Guyana GY 1,000,000
Estonia EE 1,000,000
Luxembourg LU 2
Greece GR 3
Inter-American Development Bank 200,000
South Africa ZA 4


1.^ Amount unknown

The notes below are conflicting numbers from certain countries and as such may not be accurate are not included in the above table

2.^ Conflicting information from the source, original data states 722,900 or 486,000
3.^ 290,000 11,161,000
4.^ 134,904 50,110,000

Cuban Aid to Haiti

Cuba has sent hundreds of doctors to Haiti over the years. These doctors, already in Haiti, were among the first responders to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Cuba also participates in joint aid projects with Venezuela.

Cuba has thanked Haiti for consistently voting in the United Nations General Assembly against the embargo put upon Cuba, and on Cuba's current and potential trading partners, by the United States.

Venezuelan Aid to Haiti

Haiti has benefited from a solid economic partnership with Venezuela. This recently forged friendship between Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and Haitian president René Préval has resulted in various economic agreements. After a visit by Chavez in March 2007, Venezuela and Cuba announced a $1 Billion fund to develop energy, health, and infrastructure in Haiti. As part of this deal, 4 power plants will be constructed in Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haïtien, and Gonaïves, increasing the country's power production by 160 MW by the end of 2007. An oil refinery will also be constructed in Haiti, with a production capacity of 10,000 barrels (1,600 m3) of oil per day. In the meantime, Venezuela has increased the amount of petroleum it provides Haiti to 14,000 barrels per day (2,200 m3/d), at the same terms afforded to ALBA member countries - these terms are more favorable than the Petrocaribe terms.

Venezuela's assistance to Haiti is founded upon a historic act where the newly independent Haiti welcomed and tended to first Francisco de Miranda, then to Simón Bolívar and provided both with military assistance in the liberation of much of South America.[13]


  1. Haiti Constitution And Citizenship Laws Handbook - Strategic Information And Developments." Google Books. N.p., 2018. Web. 15 Feb. 2018.
  2. "Soldiers distribute aid in Haiti". Flickr. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  3. "Major Foreign Aid Initiatives Under the Obama Administration: A Wrap-Up". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  4. Erlanger, Steven (2018-02-03). "Trump Wants to Aid Only 'America's Friends.' If Only It Were That Easy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  5. "Canada–Haiti Relations". Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada. Archived from the original on 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  6. Curtis, Bobbie (January 19, 2010). "First wave of Marines lands in Haiti". 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. Retrieved 27 October 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. 1 2 3 Ian James, Associated Press, 4 December 2011, AP Interview: Haiti leader says Venezuela aid key
  8. "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  9., 1 June 2012, Venezuela, Cuba and Argentina Sign Development Assistance Agreements with Haiti
  10., 19 April 2012, Haiti Using Funds from PetroCaribe to Finance Reconstruction

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website

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