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Haiti World Bank Report: Time for a Social Contract

Students pose for a photo in their classroom before the start of the flag ceremony to mark the first day of the new school year at Lycee National in the Petion-Ville suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. (Dieu Nalio Chery/AP Photo)
Students pose for a photo in their classroom before the start of the flag ceremony to mark the first day of the new school year at Lycee National in the Petion-Ville suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. (Dieu Nalio Chery/AP Photo)

(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.

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