Haitiis a sovereign country within the Western Hemisphere. It coversroughly 27,750 square kilometers having a population of about 10.6million persons. In terms of coverage area, Haiti is only behindDominican Republic and Cuba as the third largest Caribbean country.This paper will look to give a general description of Haiti in termsof biophysical, population features as well as economic features. Byproviding an in-depth analysis of the Country, major issues,conflicts and challenges facing them will be outlined. To furtherunderstand the country, it is vital to look at their cultures i.e.cultural background, beliefs and practices. This is because most ofthese aspects are involved in shaping the country.
Haitiis dominated by mountainous, rugged lands which have three coremountain ranges. The country has a vivid landscape entailing ruggedmountains, offshore islands and fertile valleys. These aspects aremainly brought about by the seismic activities that tend to engulfthe region. Pic la Selle Mountain is the highest at a height of 8,793feet encompassed within the Chaine la Selle range that stretches inthe southern parts of the country. Its coastline is also the secondlongest among the Caribbean countries stretching over 1,771kilometers/1100mi. The major lakes include Mirogoane and Azuei withthe only big river being Artibonite. Gonave Island is the mostrenowned island covering about 287 square miles. The satellite islandmainly comprises of rocky and barren hills yet it still housesroughly 80,000 people. It is a major tourist attraction [ CITATION Tho07 l 1033 ].
Inthe aspects of climate, the country mainly experiences a tropicalone. However, it experiences variations that depend on aaltitudes. In accordance to weather statistics, northern winds tend to draw fogas well as drizzle that normally interrupt the dry seasons whichusually stretch from November all through to January. BetweenFebruary and May, the country’s weather is normally wet. This isattributed to the Northeast trade winds that draw rains. Generally,the country experiences two rainy seasons i.e. between April and Juneand the other between October and November. Periodic floods anddroughts as well as hurricanes are a common feature [ CITATION Jus10 l 1033 ].
Thetropical and semitropical animals and plants are mainly characterizedin accordance to variety rather than their abundance. For instance,pine, cedar, mahogany, rosewood, ferns and pines are found within therain forest on the upper sides of the mountain ranges. Nativetropical fruits like oranges, avocado, mango and lime as well ascoffee, coconuts and cacao grow wild. A variety of insect species doexist with no poisonous snakes or large mammals around. Wild pigeons,guinea hens and ducks are in plenty. The inland lakes are habitat toflamingos and egrets. The reptiles include various kinds ofcrocodiles, rose boa and small lizards. The coastal waters are also ahabitat to barracuda, jack, red snapper and tarpon. By the year 2002,the country had over 20 mammal species, 62 bird species and more than5200 plant species [ CITATION Tho07 l 1033 ].
Historicaland settlement characteristics
Haitiis mainly occupied by African-Caribbean residents with a past Frenchcolonialism history. The current Haiti can trace its roots back tothe Spanish colonialism era. The Spanish people used the region as afarming area with African slaves being imported to provide labor.However, with time, the Spanish abandoned the lands which were lateruncovered by pirates as well as French settlers. During the 17thcentury, pirates were common around the waters and some settled inTurtle Island which is in the northern coast of Haiti. The dominantpirates who settled in this region were mainly French. The Frenchcolonialists are the main influencers of today’s Haiti. As a matterof fact, French is the common language used in the current Haiti.With the country being overpopulated, residents embarked ondeforestation to obtain lands for settlement [ CITATION Bob99 l 1033 ].
Accordingto the demographics profile for 2014, the populations were roughly9,996,731. The age structure is as follows
0 to 14 years are 34 percent
15 to 24 years 21.6 percent
25 to 54 years 35.3 percent
55 to 64 years 5 percent
65 years and above 4.1 percent
Thepopulation growth rates are typically 1.08 percent. The birth ratesas per the 2014 statistics were at 22.83 births per 1000 population.On the other hand, the death rates were at 7.91 deaths per 1000population. The net migration stood at -4.12 migrants per 1000population. Urban population stood at 53.4 percent of the entirepopulation in 2011. In accordance to the reports, the rates ofurbanization between 2010 and 2015 stood at 3.68 percent. The medianage for mothers to give birth is 22.7. Infant mortality rates stoodat 49.43 deaths per 1000 births. Life expectancy for the entirepopulations is 63.18 years, 61.77 years for males and 64.6 years forfemales [CITATION Hai14 l 1033 ].
TheHaitian culture is quite interesting and diverse. Almost half of theentire population practice voodoo which defines how most of thembehave. Voodoo exists alongside other religions like the RomanCatholics among others. Voodoo practitioners are believed to curespiritual ailments like casting out evil spirits. A common traditionamong Haitians is drinking of pumpkin soup during Independence Day.During the colonial period, the French used to drink pumpkin soupdenying the rest of the population to do the same. Therefore,Haitians drink pumpkin soup as a sign of freedom from colonialism [CITATION Jes105 l 1033 ].
Theliving standards are quite poor, with HIV/AIDs posing a major threat.Prevalence of HIV/AIDS is mainly attributed to the cultural way ofthinking that deter usage of protection. The country is consideredthe poorest within the western hemisphere. It is also among thepoorest of all the developing countries. After the devastating 2010earthquake that caused over 220,000 deaths, the United Nationsdeployed forces to help stabilize the country. This events worsenedHaiti’s living standards bringing about shortages in safe water,quality foods among other basic necessities. The United Nation’smission was to stabilize Haiti in terms of politics, security as wellas health care. The agency played a huge role in containing theOctober 2010 cholera outbreak [ CITATION Jes105 l 1033 ].
TheHuman development index (HDI) in 2002 was at 0.463 ranking them at153 across the globe. Generally, the country faces numerouschallenges in terms of health care. The involvement of agencies suchas UN, IMF as well as World Bank has alleviated some of thechallenges engulfing the country. For instance, World Bank often setaside money grants that are channeled towards education systems,health care among other developmental projects [ CITATION Hai14 l 1033 ].
Economicand resource characteristics
Agricultureis the core source of foreign income for the country. More than halfof worldwide Vetiver oil emanates from Haiti. The oil is utilized insome perfumes. For subsistence use, Haitians grow rice, sugarcane,corn, cassava and yams. Coffee, cocoa, sugar, mangoes, sisal, bauxiteand bananas are mainly grown for export. The government has alsotapped in technology aspects, with country producing android basedtablets, transformers and sensors. Their major trade partners is theUnited States who account for 81.5 percent of the exports [ CITATION Tho07 l 1033 ].
Availabilityof fertile lands and adequate water is the major reason whyagriculture is successful within Haiti. Their soils are quitefertile, labor is readily available hence the increased rates offarming. However, the practice has been quite detrimental onconservation aspects since people clear forests to acquire lands forcultivation. With the country experiencing high growth rates, landhas become scarce. The government tries to champion use ofcontraceptives as a means of regulating population growth. Haiti isone of the most overpopulated nations. The resources are depleted dueto these populations, hence the government’s involvement in tamingthe same. The government also tries to encourage adoption of othermeans of income such as tourism, fishing so as to preventdeforestation activities that are robbing off the country its naturalclimatic patterns [ CITATION Bob99 l 1033 ].
Thefuture economic aspects of Haiti look bleak if adoption of bettermechanisms are not enhanced. For instance, the government has triedto discourage deforestation so as to maintain the natural cycle ofevents. Without adherence to the same, forests within the country maybe depleted in the near future. The population is also growing athigh rates that are not suitable for the wellbeing of the nation.Diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis continue to be a majorthreat to future developments.
Majorinternal issues, challenges or conflicts
Politicalinstability, corruption and poor governance are common within Haiti.These acts are fundamental to the prevalent issues of poverty. Misuseof public funds and corruptions are indicators of poor governancethat cause decline in quality of services. Though the countryrestored democracy, the challenges are still quite vast especially inpublic service [ CITATION Tho07 l 1033 ].
Anotherchallenge entail disbursement of expenditures. The amounts channeledtowards rural regions are quite low typically 20% even thoughtwo-thirds of the entire population reside there. Health carespending are still quite low. In that regard, the country does notattain equal growth since most funds are channeled towards urbanareas. Another challenge entails multiplicity of programs as well asdonors who tend to complicate government efforts in planning andcoordination. Some donors form work groups yet fail to act therebyliving the government in confusion. It is also common for Haitians torelocate to other countries. Apart from losing its labor force toother countries, the county loses youths who could be in theforefront championing technological developments [ CITATION Tho07 l 1033 ].
Agenciesfunding the country experience shortfalls in terms of resourceallocation. With the poor governance, money allocated by agenciessuch as World Bank are misused leading to stagnation of the countryin terms of development. After the severe earthquake, countries andglobal bodies provided relief foods and other commodities tostabilize them. However, the effects were quite immense causinginstability especially in the political scene. The instabilities arestill seen in the current governance posing great threats to theadvancement of this nation.
Generally,Haiti as a developing country is quite poor in so many facets. Eventhough it has beautiful landscapes that attract tourists, fertilelands for cultivation among others, it still faces numerouschallenges. Recent natural calamities i.e. earthquake has deepenedthe county’s already torn economy. Poor governance and corruptionare also detrimental features experienced by the country. Thepopulation is also quite high with an ever rising growth rates.However, stringent policies, intervention from agencies can helppropel Haiti out of its current status. The country has adequateresources to ensure proper growth if it is well governed.
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