[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#1751: Comparative statistics on Haiti, Cuba, the DR, ... Blanchet compiles data

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

 Analysis of Some Comparative Statistics

 In order to give an idea of Haiti's standing vis--vis
 Cuba, the Dominican Republic, India, Jamaica, and
 Nigeria, I have collected some comparative statistics
 (given below) from the United Nations Development
 Program's (UNDP) "Human Development Report 1999."
 The Human Development Index (HDI) is the key
 feature of this report.

 In the words of Amartya Sen, 1998 Nobel laureate
 in economics, "HDI has been rather successful in
 serving as an alternative measure of development,
 supplementing GNP or GDP. Based as it is on three
 distinct components  -- indicators of longevity,
 education and income per head -- it is not exclusively
 focused on economic opulence, as GNP or GDP is.
 Within the limits of these three components, the HDI
 has served to broaden substantially the empirical
 attention that the assessment of development
 processes receives."

 Although I am well aware that statistics can be
 distorted and say very little about the hearts and
 minds of a country, I find these useful nonetheless
 for what they seem to tell, namely that:

 1. Haiti is at the same level as India and Nigeria
 insofar as the statistics on demographic density,
 GDP per capita, life expectancy, literacy rate, extent
 of urbanization, etc. are concerned. The HDI, which
 is a composite index incorporating the statistics on
 income, education, and longevity bears this out. The
 corollary of all of this is that we are substantially
 behind our Caribbean neighbors.

 2. The adult literacy rate, namely 46 %, is much better
 than the figure typically quoted by most, namely 15 %
 corresponding to an illiteracy rate of 85 %. The UNDP
 figure seems to reflect literacy in Creole which has
 historically been left out. It would make sense if our
 leaders could take this fact into account in their
 pronouncements in order to convey a more accurate
 sense of the complex Haitian reality.

 3.There is no need to despair. Our situation can
 be improved, and such improvement can be dramatic
 and swift as has been experienced in Costa Rica,
 Cuba, and the Indian state of Kerala. What it takes
 is political will, intelligent planning and a focus on
 the social needs of the Haitian people, especially
 the majority that lives in rural areas.

 Government socio-economic policy should aim at the
 stabilization and reinvigoration of rural life by:

 1. giving the peasantry the economic incentive to
 stay put through land reform that would benefit the
 landless segment of the peasantry, the promotion
 of increased local food production and infrastructure
 projects to support increased production, to facilitate
 the resulting increase in trade and to restore Haiti's
 damaged ecology.

 2. enhancing the quality of rural life through the
 opening of schools and clinics and a massive adult
 literacy drive to reduce the rate of illiteracy to
 the level found in Cuba and Jamaica.

 Also this will require the protection of the
 agricultural sector for at least a generation and
 not its integration into the world economy and
 consequent dislocation through the forced migration
 of millions currently living in the countryside.

 All of this will require a strong state, both in its
 centralized and local components, and not one
 downsized to insignificance. In this context, the
 country has the opportunity to achieve meaningful
 decentralization through the implementation of
 the clauses of the 1987 Constitution relating to
 the territorial assemblies.




 Basic Statistics Haiti     Cuba    DR	India    Jamaica   Nigeria

 density per
 square kilometer 281       97	    166	  293	 227	113

 Rural population
 as % of total       67         23 	     37	   73	  45	  59

 GDP per capita,
 1987 US $         257  not avail.   1,032	  465	1,433	 315

 Combined first,
 second & third
 level gross
 ratio, %	          24	        72	       66	    55	    63	    54

 literacy, %         46	        96	       83	     54	     86	    60

 Under 5 infant
 per 1000
 Live births         132         8	       53   	     108	      11	   187

 Life expectancy
 at birth, years    54	          76	     71	      63	      75	    50

 Daily per capita
 of calories      1,855      2,357   2,316	   2,415	   2,575	  2,254

 Index (HDI)    0.430      0.765   0.726	   0.545	   0.734	   0.456
 Rank out of
 174 Countries 152	          58	     88	     132	      82	    146