Post-Disaster and PostConflict Microfinance: Best Practices in Light of Fonkoze’s Experience in Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has seen more than its share of both natural and man-made disasters. 80% of the population lives in abject poverty. In 2005, the UNDP ranked Haiti 153rd out of 177 countries on its Human Development Index.1 The following are some statistics from this report: • Life expectancy at birth is 51.6 years. • Adult literacy is estimated at 52%. • 65% of the population lives below the national poverty line. • 54% has no access to potable water. • 49% of the population is undernourished. • 5.6% of the population is estimated to be infected with HIV/AIDS in a country with 25 doctors per 100,000 people. The country’s economic growth has never been rapid, but since the 1970s the picture has generally gone from bad to worse. After growing at an average annual rate of 2.3 percent in real terms in the ‘70s, real per capita GDP fell an average of 2.4 percent per year in the ‘80s. The decline accelerated through the ‘90s to an average annual rate of 2.6 percent.2 Real GDP did not grow during the period 2000-2003, inflation averaged 17 percent (including increases in the price of basic products), and the fiscal deficit (excluding grants) averaged 3.1 percent of GDP. The absence of publicly-funded social programs and the dramatic contraction of donor

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