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Geography of haiti.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Haiti is an independent country in the West Indies, west of the Dominican Republic, whom it shares the island of Hispaniola with. (Dominican Republic owns two thirds of the island, and Haiti owns the western third). The country is approximately 28,000 square kilometers and has a population of nearly 9 million people, which grows at an annual rate of 2.5%. Port-au-Prince is the country's capital and largest city. Haiti is defined by rough and mountainous terrain, and so has been named "land of mountains". It also has small coastal plains and river valleys. Haiti has a tropical climate, but lies in the middle of the hurricane belt and is prone to severe storms from June to October, with occasional flooding, earthquakes and periodic droughts. French and Creole are the official language of Haiti, as it was a French colony for a period of time. Today, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a GDP of only $1,900, with two thirds of the people unemployed and three quarters living in poverty. Haiti's international debt is more than $1 billion. (www.cia.gov) Haiti has numerous development indicators to show how well the country is developing. The main ones are explained below, each with potential solutions to further develop the country and improve standards of living. SOURCES OF FINANCE Currency: Gourde( HTG) Exchange Rate: $1 to 37.138 Haitian Gourde Potential sources of income: International Monetary Fund, World Bank ,Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Inter-American Development Bank, Aid and Taxation. International Monetary Funds (IMF) Set up in 1944 at the Bretton Wood conference, New Hampshire, to help put in place an economic structure that would help the problems experienced by many countries in the 1930s. It also aims to stabilise the international monetary system and help when monetary flow from trade causes problems. It provides help and advice as well as funds to countries experiencing balance of payments problem. ...read more.

Middle

To combat problems of deforestation and low crop yield numerous reforestation efforts have been made by international help. ORE (Organisation for the Rehabilitation of the Environment) are helping farmers become self-sufficient. ORE introduced a system of fruit-tree production with high crop values. The benefits of fruit tree production are that it generates an income to farmers as they can trade the fruits (mostly mangoes), has nutritional benefits i.e. feeds the family and fewer trees are cut down so the environment is saved and there is less soil erosion. Proposed solutions to help farmers become self sufficient is for international non-government organizations to come to Haiti and educate farmers and introduce methods of subsistence farming and educate them on environmental management practices. Many farmers produce bananas, corn, rice, sorghum, dry and cocoa beans, all of which are exported to neighbouring countries. Haiti can take an example from India where the do intensive rice farming. If Haitians were to implement this method, they would be able to generate an income from trading rice and nutritional benefits as rice can form up to 90% of the total diet, eliminating malnutrition. In the dry season, to prevent crops from growing of low yield quality, water can be pumped in from the surrounding sea and lakes and can be used to irrigate the land so the crops have a plentiful supply of water. The same method can be used for plumbing in homes. Most of Haiti does not have electricity or power. A solution to this is to develop hydroelectricity using water from the sea to generate electricity. Haiti receives a lot of sunlight also, and so they can also develop solar panels for solar energy. Haiti could have a potentially successful fishing industry but a lack of modern fishing equipment has halted this development. Experts from Cuba have, however, been helping Haiti develop its fishing industry. At peak times, Haiti exports lobster and other seafood to the USA. ...read more.

Conclusion

If it improves this sector first, it will slowly start to develop again. Many people fear for their safety and as a result Haiti has turned into an isolated country, which is why it is unable to develop sustainable development activities. With public security in order, Haiti needs foreign funds to help develop again. The USA plays a big role in financing Haiti as most of the finance is from them. Haiti needs to start to get more help from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and with their help, all of the sectors of the economy will slowly improve. Health is a major issue in Haiti as it has a wide-spread of HIV/AIDS. With help from NGOs, such as USAID, Haiti can start to control its population increase by establishing more health and birth-control centres, which are easily accessible to both youth and adults, all with skilled nurses and doctors. Haiti needs to follow Jamaica who introduced a highly successful mass media campaign informing the public about HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. Labour and education need to be improved, and encourage parents to send their children to school to get an education rather than send them to work. By getting an education, children can aim for better paid jobs and a better standard of living. Haiti needs to focus on using the Comparative Advantage Theory and implement it with agriculture. Haiti is already superior in agriculture than neighbouring countries as it has flat fertile river valleys, and so can maximise crop yield and produce high quality crops and fruit. They can then trade these with neighbouring countries in exchange for other raw materials. Haiti also needs to re-develop its "once flourishing" tourism industry. It needs money to improve basic infrastructure and introduce activities for tourists to enjoy. Tourism is a key asset to Haiti as it has beautiful landscapes, scenery and luxurious beaches. Through tourism, Haiti can lift people out of poverty, provide jobs, create employment and income. Though these ideas seem easy on paper, they are much harder to achieve in reality. Not all these ideas can be achieved and success cannot be guaranteed. ...read more.

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