You may wonder which country is the poorest in the western hemisphere currently, based on our research and various statistics that are made available according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the poorest country in the Western hemisphere currently and in 2022 is Haiti with a GDP of $1,317 per Annum.
The gross domestic product (GDP) per person is widely used as a benchmark for assessing the relative prosperity of different nations. The 14 countries in the Western Hemisphere that are anticipated to have the lowest GDP per capita by the end of our projection horizon in 2026 are discussed in this article.
Over a thousand of the world’s most prestigious investment banks, economic think tanks, and professional economic forecasting businesses contributed to the Consensus Forecasts referenced in this article.
15 Poorest Countries In The Western Hemisphere [2022 GDP Stats]
Per Capita Income: $1,317
Haiti, once the richest colony in the Americas, is today the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with more than half of its people living below the World Bank’s poverty line. Natural disasters, political unrest, and foreign involvement have all hampered progress in the Caribbean nation.
For the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has the lowest standard of living. Over half of the population is poor, and many people there practice subsistence farming to make ends meet.
Read Also: Serbia Economy In Europe [Facts & History]
The United Nations has pledged almost $13 billion in international help for Haiti between 2010 and 2020; the vast majority of this money will go toward catastrophe relief and development projects.
Meanwhile, remittances from the Haitian diaspora have been rising consistently over the past few years, and are projected to reach a record $3.8 billion [PDF] in 2020, equivalent to over 24 percent of Haiti’s GDP (GDP).
On average, exports and imports account for 43% of Haiti’s GDP since 2010. Sugar refining, flour milling, cement making, and textile production are the country’s most important industries. In 2020, textiles accounted for around 86% of total exports. If you want to know who Haiti’s biggest trading partner is, the answer is the United States, followed by Canada and Mexico.
Recent years have been difficult for Haiti’s economy due to natural catastrophes, sickness, political instability, poor humanitarian aid management, and the depreciation of the gourde, the country’s currency. The previously prosperous travel and tourism industry has fizzled out.
This year, Haiti only received 938 thousand tourists, a far cry from the record-breaking 1.3 million who visited in 2018, when the country earned $620 million. Nearly 7.6 million people visited the neighboring Dominican Republic that year. But the COVID-19 outbreak has drastically cut down on tourism and business for both nations.
Read Also: 100 Poorest Cities in America By GDP
Despite having its debts forgiven by international lenders after the devastating 2010 earthquake, Haiti has racked up around $3.57 billion in borrowing since then, with about $2 billion coming from PetroCaribe, a Venezuela-led regional alliance that provides its members with cheap oil. Additional unrest, such as a growing protest movement, the killing of President Jovenel Mose in 2021, consecutive natural disasters in July and August 2021, and widespread gang violence, have all contributed to a deteriorating economic scenario.
To What Extent Do Poor Infrastructure And Political Instability Hinder Development In Haiti?
Since declaring its independence from France, Haiti has been plagued by a wide variety of threats to its progress, from the intervention of external countries to political corruption and natural calamities within the country.
Read Also: 21 Poorest European Countries By GDP
Debt and imperial interference
After gaining independence from France in 1804, foreign nations continued to meddle in Haitian affairs. After its former colony, Haiti agreed to pay reparations to France in 1825 that would be worth $22 billion today, only then would France recognize an independent Haiti. For the next 120 years, the majority of Haiti’s income will be devoted to settling this debt.
In 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln was actively advocating for liberation around the world, the United States finally acknowledged Haiti. Successive U.S. administrations have prioritized strategic interests when considering Haiti.
Read Also: 50 Richest Cities In Europe By GDP Per Capita
President Woodrow Wilson, concerned about the spread of German influence in the Caribbean at the start of World War I, sent Marines to Haiti in 1915 to, ostensibly, restore political stability. Seven Haitian presidents in the preceding five years were either deposed or killed.
United States forces maintained complete control over Haiti’s government and economy throughout the nearly twenty-year occupation. In addition to removing presidents and legislatures that were in opposition to U.S. involvement, it also imposed racial segregation, forced labor, and press control.
Fifteen thousand people died in revolts against the U.S. authority, the worst of which happened in 1919 and 1929. As part of his Good Neighbor Policy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pulled U.S. soldiers out of the country in 1934.
An unstable political climate
After the United States left, a string of unstable regimes ensued, culminating in the installation of a dictatorship in 1957 by François Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude.
Read Also: 50 Richest Countries In Europe By GDP
During their 29-year reign, corruption depleted national coffers and human rights crimes killed or disappeared 30,000 people.
The younger Duvalier fled the country in 1986 in the face of widespread protests and international pressure, paving the way for the establishment of a new constitution and democratic institutions [PDF].
The country’s first democratically elected leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was removed from office twice (in 1991 and 2004) by military coups. In both cases, the United States and the United Nations launched armed interventions. After the Aristide government fell in 2004, the United Nations established a thirteen-year peacekeeping mission, the Brazil-led UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), to restore order in the country.
Claims that the United States intervened to help Michel Martelly win the presidency in 2011 cast a shadow over his administration. After delaying the presidential election twice and reigning by decree for over a year, he eventually stepped down.
The 2016 election of Martelly’s successor, Jovenel Mose, was delayed until early 2017 due to suspicions of fraud. This left Haiti without a functioning government.
Increased fuel prices and the withdrawal of government subsidies, accusations of corruption, a deteriorating economic crisis, and controversy about the legality of his administration all contributed to widespread protests and calls for Mose’s resignation during his presidency. Mose was assassinated on July 7, 2021, marking the climax of years of civil upheaval.
Several mercenaries, many of whom had undergone U.S. military training, were initially arrested by U.S. officials on suspicion of complicity in the assassination; however, only three men have been charged thus far due to the stalemate in Haiti’s investigation.
Ariel Henry, who had been named prime minister only days before the murder and who is now serving as acting president, comes under investigation when the chief prosecutor of Haiti claimed that Henry had been in contact with the main suspect. The assassination attempt against Henry occurred in January of 2022. After many delays, the administration has yet to organize a presidential election.
Catastrophic natural occurrences
Compared to other Caribbean countries, Haiti is hit harder by natural catastrophes due to its location on a geological fault line in a region prone to violent storms. Deforestation has made Haiti twice as vulnerable to floods and mudslides as the Dominican Republic.
The effects of natural catastrophes are exacerbated by a number of variables, including haphazard urban development, inadequate public services, a high concentration of people in vulnerable coastal areas, and reliance on subsistence agriculture.
In 2010, a devastating earthquake struck a region near the capital of Haiti, displacing 1.5 million people and killing an estimated 220,00 people. The first estimate for the cost of basic reconstruction was $8 billion, which is more than the country’s yearly GDP.
Seventy percent of crops were lost due to drought between 2015 and 2017, while in 2016, Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc on the country’s housing stock, livestock, and infrastructure. A 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated the southern peninsula of Haiti in August 2021, demolishing 30 percent of local dwellings, killing nearly 2,000 people, and displacing tens of thousands more.
Days later, Tropical Storm Grace brought more rain and compounded the damage by causing flash flooding and landslides.
Mismanagement of aid and epidemics have further worsened the situation. Malaria and the mosquito-borne virus dengue fever are rife, and cholera introduced by UN forces from Nepal following the 2010 earthquake has killed 10,000 people and infected almost a million. While NGOs have received billions in help, some argue that it has been mismanaged.
Per Capita Income: $2,698
If you’re looking for the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, go no further than Nicaragua. Political instability and violence, the severe disparity between urban and rural populations, reliance on agricultural exports, and natural calamities all contribute to the country’s continuous cycle of poverty, which affects the majority of its 6.5 million people.
From roughly the middle of the 2000s until the middle of the 2010s, the country made significant progress toward reducing poverty. Overall, 48.3% of Americans were poor in 2005, with 17.2% living in extreme poverty.
Since then, thanks to the present administration’s investment in social welfare programs, those percentages have dropped by 18 and 9 points, respectively. Among these initiatives are Hambre Cero, which offers livestock and gardening supplies to female household heads, Usura Cero, which offers microloans to female household heads, Plan Techo, which distributes roofing materials to low-income families, and Agua Segura, which delivers safe drinking water.
In addition, organizations like Self-Help International are helping the people of Nicaragua by improving agriculture, feeding children, empowering women, and ensuring that the community has access to enough nutrition.
Per Capita Income: $4,029
Although Guyana became a politically independent nation in 1966, its economic independence did not occur until the 1980s. Since most agricultural and mining firms were held by foreign companies, most economic decisions remained to be decided outside.
It was two British firms, Booker McConnell and Jessel Securities, that held sway over the country since they owned the majority of the sugar plantations. Around a third of Guyana’s GDP in the early 1970s came from the activities of the Booker McConnell firm (GNP).
The corporation was responsible for 85% of Guyana’s sugar production, 13% of the country’s employment, and 35% of the country’s total foreign exchange profits.
The mining industry was also dominated by two foreign firms: the Canadian-based Alcan subsidiary Demerara Bauxite Company (Demba) and the American-based Reynolds Metals subsidiary Reynolds Bauxite Company (Reynolds).
These companies generated 45 percent of all foreign income for the country. The big banks were likewise owned by foreign firms.
The Burnham administration, which took office in 1964, viewed the ongoing dominance of foreign economies as a barrier to development. Foreign ownership was seen as the underlying source of local economic troubles, as economist DeLisle Worrell pointed out.
This was the general consensus among the Caribbean’s developing nations and it was backed up by a variety of arguments. Companies with a foreign ownership structure in the Caribbean have been accused of employing outdated industrial methods.
These technologies were designed for the industrialized world, thus they required a lot of investment rather than human labor to implement. As a result, the rate of unemployment in the region remained unacceptably high.
And instead of generating value-added goods, local economies were orientated toward producing just primary products (sugar and bauxite in Guyana) (processed foods and aluminum parts, for example). Because of its reliance on exports of cheap primary products, Guyana’s economy was subject to fluctuations in global commodity prices.
And because most tiny, less developed countries had a manufacturing base, local economies had to import costly things like machinery.
Critics of the economic system in the country claim that foreign corporations are content with the status quo and hence have little motivation to invest in and help improve the local economies.
Long story short, ambitions in the region were being stifled by foreign rule. Many Caribbean citizens, especially those who lean left politically, have advocated for the centralization of economic power.
The government took swift action to seize financial control. Burnham declared Guyana the first “cooperative republic” in the world in 1970, promising to continue welcoming foreign investors while requiring the government to control at least 51% of any business operating within Guyana.
The Burnham administration’s initial proposal called for limiting ownership to no more than 51 percent; although seeking majority control, the administration was interested in retaining foreign management teams and the continued inflow of foreign investment.
Large international firms, however, were unconvinced by the concept of shared ownership, so the Burnham administration nationalized the economy and banned all foreigners from owning or managing businesses there.
Guyana’s large corporations were nationalized in the ’70s. In 1971, Demba was nationalized and is now run by the government. A short three years later, the government seized control of Reynolds Bauxite Company.
Next, the Burnham administration focused on the sugar business. The Burnham government may have been trying to win over more Indo-Guyanese sugar workers, as some analysts have speculated, and this latter action may have been motivated mostly by politics.
Due to layoffs and other cost-cutting measures taken by Jessel Securities in 1975, Guyana nationalized the firm. The massive Booker McConnell firm was taken over by the government in 1976. Over 80% of the economy was under government control by the late 1970s.
Government control of the economy was so extensive that even major international corporations were nationalized. As early as the 1980s, the government had also acquired control of much of the retail and distribution sectors. It managed the distribution of all exported goods, including the rice and other items still produced on individual farms.
It controlled all banks except for two and had strict controls on the trading of currencies. Through price controls and a variety of import bans, the government attempted to impose its will on citizens’ consumption habits. Even the most fundamental imports have local alternatives proposed, such as rice flour as a replacement for imported wheat flour.
At first glance, the nationalized economy appeared to be thriving. In the early 1970s, the global price of sugar and bauxite increased, resulting in substantial profits for the newly nationalized businesses. Growth in gross domestic product averaged over 4% per year from 1970-1975, thanks in large part to government spending increases.
Gains made in the 1960s and 1970s were lost as lower global commodity prices hurt Guyana in the late 1970s and early 1980s. When demand for sugar and bauxite dropped, so did economic output.
Despite this, government expenditure remained excessive, and Guyana was eventually compelled to seek financing from overseas. Throughout Latin America throughout the 1980s, economies followed this trend of falling GDP, maintaining high levels of government spending, and increasing reliance on foreign borrowing.
The economic crisis in Guyana deepened throughout the 1980s. Inadequate domestic pricing contributed significantly to the issue. There were also two fundamental issues: a dearth of competent local management and a failure to adequately invest in agricultural and mining firms as governmental funding dried up.
Since its peak in the 1960s, annual bauxite production has steadily declined, from 3 million tons to 2 million in 1971 and then to 1.3 million tons in 1988. Sugar production fell from 330,000 tons in 1976 to roughly 245,000 tons in the middle of the 1980s and had fallen to 168,000 tons by 1988.
The 210,000 tons of rice that were produced at their height in 1977 were never produced again. The country’s rice harvest has dropped by about 40% by 1988 compared to 1977.
The Burnham administration’s response to the productivity decline only made matters worse. Due to a decline in export earnings, the foreign currency became scarce.
The government’s attempt to ration foreign cash was a distraction from its primary strategy of addressing the underlying cause of the problem: low domestic output. The government strictly controlled the influx of foreign currency and imposed stringent controls on all outbound transactions. Because of these regulations, efficiency was reduced and supplies were reduced.
Moreover, strict government supervision contributed to the establishment of a sizable black market. Cash dealers avoided government regulations by buying and selling foreign currency, and smugglers smuggled in contraband goods.
Even while many people started making a living on the black market, many more were leaving the country. Roughly 10% of Guyana’s population, or 72,000 people, left the country between 1976 and 1981.
Many of the most capable managers and business owners also emigrated. Finally, the Burnham government’s antagonistic political stance made it impossible for the United States to provide assistance.
Late in the 1980s, the crisis reached its peak as a result of Guyana’s mounting foreign debt. With fewer funds coming in from exports, the government borrowed money from other countries to pay for necessities like food and medicine. As of 1988, Guyana’s external debt had risen to US$1.7 billion, or over six times the country’s GDP at the time.
Guyana’s economy did not grow out of debt because the government spent the borrowed money on consumption rather than investing it in the productive sector. As a result, the government becomes more unable to pay its debts.
The total amount of payments that were late in 1988 was a whopping $1 billion. The Hoyte government implemented an austerity and recovery program endorsed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rather than risk a reduction in all foreign credit (including short-term loans for imported machinery and commerce).
In 1988, Guyana implemented the Economic Reform Program (ERP), which marked a departure from the statist economic policies that had prevailed over the previous two decades.
Per Capita Income: $4,275
Honduras is located in Central America, with coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean to the north and south, respectively. The ancient Mayan ceremonial site of Copán is located in the tropical rainforest not far from Guatemala, and it features stelae, which are tall stone monuments inscribed with hieroglyphics.
The Bay Islands are a popular diving spot in the Caribbean because they are located on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which stretches for more than 1,000 kilometers over the region’s oceans.
A rising industrial base, initiatives to diversify exports, a young and expanding population, and a favorable geographic position all provide Honduras advantages that could lead to quicker economic growth and more wealth for everybody.
Honduras’ real GDP increased by 3.1% per year on average over the past decade. Recent years have seen the government execute sound macroeconomic policies based on the Fiscal Responsibility Law, and the results have been impressive: the second-greatest economic growth rates in Central America, behind only Panama.
In 2018, GDP grew by 3.7% and is projected to expand by 2.7% in 2019, both of which are above the Central American average and far above the Latin American and Caribbean average (LAC).
But in 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic and two Category 4 hurricanes —Eta and Iota— led to a dramatic 9 percent decrease in GDP, while income and employment plummeted and around 400,000 people lost their jobs.
As of right now, Honduras ranks high among the Western Hemisphere’s poorest and most unequal nations. After the twin shocks of 2020, 25.2% of Hondurans were living in extreme poverty, and 4.4% were living below the poverty line.
There has been minimal progress in reducing poverty since 2014, and both rural and urban areas have seen an increase in extreme poverty between 2014 and 2017. The Gini index for rural areas climbed dramatically from 0.431 in 2014 to 0.486 in 2019. The 2019 Gini index placed Honduras fourth among Latin American and Caribbean countries.
It is expected that poverty and inequality will stay at or above their pre-crisis levels, and other development issues will also exist in Honduras. The country’s human development outcomes are among the worst in Latin America and the Caribbean.
When she’s an adult, a child born in Honduras today will only be 48 percent as productive as she could be if she had access to excellent health care and quality education.
Fundamentally, combating state capture and impunity is necessary for improving governance and the quality of institutions.
Additional work is required to improve the accountability of public and elected officials, increase transparency, and fortify capacities for digital and open government, among other areas. To further reduce crime and violence, it is still essential to invest in better measures for preventing it and for enforcing the laws that already exist.
The economy of the country experienced a healthy 12.5% expansion in 2021, and further expansion of 3.5% is anticipated in 2022 and 3.13% in 2023. Early in 2022, a new government assumed power, giving it a chance to set a course that meets the country’s demands for recovery and reconstruction while also removing some of the most important growth-limiting factors.
Improved social outcomes and expanded economic opportunities for the most vulnerable in society will result from a continued emphasis on boosting growth and competitiveness, fostering inclusion by improving access to quality basic services and jobs, and promoting resilience in the face of climate change.
Improvements in the sustainability of the power sector, as well as governance and the business climate, are examples of institutional reforms that can help Honduras move closer to establishing a foundation for equitable growth.
Per Capita Income: $4,365
The Andes Mountains, the Atacama Desert, and the Amazon Basin rainforest all make up parts of Bolivia, a country in central South America. La Paz, the administrative capital, is located at an elevation of almost 3,500 meters on the Altiplano plateau in the Andes, with snow-capped Mount Illimani in the distance. The largest lake in South America, Lake Titicaca, is close by and shares a border with Peru.
In terms of per capita income, Bolivia ranks last among Latin American countries. The poverty rate in the country is over 80%, with 15% falling into the extreme poverty category. The dependence of the country on subsistence farming is blamed for the high poverty rate.
Per Capita Income: $4,786
Located between Argentina and Brazil and to the west of Bolivia, the landlocked country of Paraguay is characterized by vast areas of marsh, subtropical forest, and Chaco, or savanna and scrubland. Asunción, the capital, is located on the Paraguay River and features a number of attractions, including the Government Palace and the Museo del Barro, which features displays of pre-Columbian ceramics and lacework, the latter of which may be purchased at a number of local boutiques.
Paraguay’s economy has thrived during the past two decades because of the prudent application of macroeconomic policies. Paraguay has outperformed its peers in terms of economic growth, government deficits, and external borrowing costs between 2004 and 2019.
Institutional changes, such as the inflation targeting mechanism and fiscal responsibility legislation (FRL), served to maintain macro stability and sustain the economy while advantageous terms of trade boosted agriculture and hydropower exports.
Inequality decreased from 54 to 46 Gini points within the same time period, while poverty (US$6.85 per day per capita, 2017 PPPs) decreased from 40.2 to 19.7 percent. The World Bank Human Capital Project estimated that a child born in Paraguay would only reach 53% of the productivity she could have attained with full access to health and education, using statistics from before the pandemic. This is well below the median for the region and the upper middle class.
In more recent times, several external shocks have dampened growth and efforts to reduce poverty. Droughts and weak performance by trading partners in 2019 led to a decline, and in 2020, movement limitations related to COVID-19 further stifled the economy.
As a result, poverty rose to 22.3% in 2020 despite increased government assistance programs. Poverty rates are projected to remain higher in 2022 than they were before the epidemic due to the recession and inflation caused by the drought.
Per Capita Income: $4,907
Culture is one of Guatemala’s defining features as a nation. On the flip side, extreme poverty and inequality are also hallmarks of this region. The poverty rate in Guatemala in 2014 was 59.3%, after significant gains over the previous two decades.
Contrary to its high GDP, Guatemala has some of Central America’s worst nutrition and maternal mortality rates. Because of its high rates of economic, social, and land inequality, Guatemala has one of the highest poverty rates in the world.
Over eighty-five percent of Guatemala’s wealth is held by the top five percent of the population, according to estimates. As a result, rural communities with large indigenous populations are disproportionately affected by poverty throughout Guatemala. Seventy-five percent or more of Guatemala’s indigenous people are classified as living below the poverty line.
The current state of inequality and poverty in Guatemala has been building for centuries. The indigenous Maya people of Guatemala were subdued by the Spanish in the early modern era.
When it finally won its independence in 1821, the state was never truly stable. The Guatemalan Revolution ended after ten years in 1954, but the subsequent civil war lasted for another 36 years, until 1996.
Guatemala’s indigenous peoples stayed out of the country’s conflicts until the final, bloodiest phase of the civil war. Over the course of the late 1970s and early 1980s, a counterinsurgency effort supported by the United States wiped out 600 indigenous villages, killed over 200,000 people, and uprooted another million.
However, the 20th century’s events did not establish Guatemala’s poverty or its inequality. The fighting exacerbated the state’s preexisting problems by severely impeding its potential to become a modern nation. Truth be told, America has a long history of discrimination and exclusion dating back to the nineteenth century.
In contrast to the diversity of its geography and population, Guatemala’s economy has always relied heavily on a single sector: agriculture. The late 1800s saw the emergence of a lucrative market for coffee, and the country’s economic elite (mostly of European descent) took advantage of archaic Spanish legislation to seize and privatize vast tracts of land for coffee plantations.
This not only shattered the indigenous people’s reliance on communal grounds, but it also compelled them to relocate to loftier elevations, where the soil was less suitable for subsistence farming.
During the conflict, 37% more households were living on less than they needed, and the percentage of people who were considered “landless peasants” rose to 25% of the labor force. More than two-thirds of the land was owned by fewer than 2 percent of the people in 1979, and it is likely that this distribution has not changed much since then.
Furthermore, until about the middle of the twentieth century, the indigenous population was legally exploited for forced labor. The government mandated that all male citizens do free labor on public works projects to build roads in 1873; in practice, only indigenous males were obliged to do so, while the plantation owners reaped the benefits.
The government mandated that all peasants without land spend 150 days a year working on a plantation, and this requirement was first implemented in 1934. A large number of employees were forced into indentured slavery because they owed so much money to wealthy landowners.
Thankfully, since the 1996 Peace Accords, Guatemala has achieved significant strides toward human and sustainable development, the reintegration of indigenous people, and the strengthening of an inclusive democracy. The country has seen a surge in tax revenues and public spending, as well as an expansion of access to basic utility services, over the past quarter of a century.
Guatemala’s history of inequality and exclusion is deeply embedded in the country’s current socioeconomic conditions. Although it has struggled in the past to achieve its social goals, going forward Guatemala has a great opportunity to do so and reduce poverty through increased economic growth, development, and equality.
8. El Salvador
Per Capita Income: $7,564
The Central American nation of El Salvador is formally known as the Republic of El Salvador. It shares land borders with Honduras to the northeast, Guatemala to the northwest, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. San Salvador is the nation’s capital and largest city.
It has a high level of debt relative to GDP (almost 90%), and its debt is expensive (about 5% annually compared to 1.5% in the US). There is also a huge deficit, and the government has no plans to address it by increasing taxes or significantly decreasing spending.
Per Capita Income: $7,786
As a country, Ecuador is located on the west coast of South America, bordering the equator. Its varied topography features the Amazon rainforest, the Andean mountains, and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands. Quito, the capital, sits at an altitude of 2,850 meters in the Andean foothills and is renowned for its well-preserved Spanish colonial center, which includes palaces and churches adorned in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The primary industries that contribute to Ecuador’s GDP are mining, agriculture, and fishing. Since the early 1970s, oil exports and oil extraction have been the backbone of the country’s economy. More and more of Ecuador’s economy is dependent on the export of cocoa and bananas, of which Ecuador is the world’s leading exporter and has been for decades.
Recently, 40% of export earnings and 25% of central government budget revenues came from Ecuador’s abundant petroleum resources. As a result, price swings in international markets might have serious effects at home.
The worst economic calamity in Ecuador’s history hit in the late 1990s. Although natural calamities were a major factor, the precipitous drop in global petroleum prices in 1999 was the real death knell for Ecuador’s economy.
The shortfall got even worse, and the real GDP dropped by more than 6 percent. In the latter part of that year, the country’s banking sector also failed, and the government defaulted on its foreign debt. In 1999, the value of the MAHAUD currency dropped by over 70%, and the government announced that it would dollarize the economy to stave off the threat of hyperinflation.
In spite of this, Vice President Gustavo NOBOA assumed the presidency in 2000 after a coup deposed MAHAUD and a brief junta failed to win over the armed forces.
As of March 2000, the United States dollar was officially recognized as legal money thanks to a series of alterations approved by Congress. The economy was stabilized by the adoption of the dollar, and growth eventually resumed its pre-crisis levels.
In the years between January 2003 and April 2005, when Lucio GUTIERREZ was president of Ecuador, the country benefited from an increase in global petroleum prices. To make Ecuador less susceptible to fluctuations in the price of petroleum and financial crises, the government has been slow to implement critical economic reforms.
Few industry existed in Ecuador prior to the 1950s. Existing ones focused on food processing and the production of textiles, leather goods, and a few consumer goods. Production of hats made from straw was a major source of revenue.
Per Capita Income: $7,894
Located in eastern Central America, Belize features beaches on the Caribbean Sea and thick vegetation in the western half of the country. Belize’s rich marine life may be found just off the coast on the huge Belize Barrier Reef, which is peppered with hundreds of little islands known as Cayes. Mayan ruins may be found all across the Belizean jungle, including the famous Caracol pyramid, the tranquil Lamanai on the shores of a lagoon, and the modern-day Altun Ha on the outskirts of Belize City.
The government of Belize has learned from its colonial past and is actively working to protect the country’s natural wonders and abundant resources while simultaneously attracting tourists and economically stable newcomers. Although English is the country’s official language, numerous establishments in
locations where both Spanish and English are often spoken. In spite of the fact that tourism has overtaken all other industries as a significant contributor to Belize’s GDP, English continues to be the de facto language of communication. However, Latin American music, language, food, and lifestyle will remain popular.
Sugar, bananas, citrus, marine products, and crude oil exports all rank below tourism as contributors to the country’s gross national product.
GDP growth averaged over 4% from 1999 to 2007 due to the government’s expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, which were begun in September 1998. However, GDP growth has averaged only 2.1% from 2007 to 2016, with growth forecast at 2.5% for 2017. Since it must rely on imports, Belize is vulnerable to sudden changes in energy prices.
A significant government goal remains to eliminate poverty and inequality with the help of international donors, despite the fact that Belize has the third highest per capita income in Central America, the average income figure covers a huge income disparity between rich and poor.
Major issues include persistently high unemployment, a widening trade deficit, and a substantial quantity of owed money to foreign entities. The increasing trade deficit and the accompanying increase in Belize’s sovereign debt are two of the biggest challenges the country is currently facing.
14. The Dominican Republic
What Is The Poorest Nation In The Western Hemisphere?
The poorest nation in the western hemisphere is currently Haiti with a per capita income of $1,317. For the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has the lowest standard of living. Over half of the population is poor, and many people there practice subsistence farming to make ends meet.
What Are The Five Poorest Countries In The Western Hemisphere?
Following are the top 5 poorest countries in Western Hemisphere right now:
1. Haiti: $1,317
2. Nicaragua: $2,698
3. Guyana: $4,029
4. Honduras: $4,275
5. Bolivia: $4,365
What Is The Second Poorest Country In The Western Hemisphere?
The second poorest country in Western Hemisphere is Nicaragua with an annual GDP of $2,698. From roughly the middle of the 2000s until the middle of the 2010s, the country made significant progress toward reducing poverty. Overall, 48.3% of Americans were poor in 2005, with 17.2% living in extreme poverty.
Haiti is one of the few countries that has had a particularly hard time developing. The Caribbean nation has endured several foreign incursions, persistent political instability, and terrible natural disasters since gaining independence from French colonial authority more than two centuries ago. What was once the richest colony in the Americas is now the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere due to the convergence of these factors.
The United States’ complicated relationship with Haiti dates back many decades and includes a nearly twenty-year occupation that was marked by violence.
Even though diplomatic relations were strained under President Donald Trump, the two countries continue to have extensive economic and social ties despite their frequently tumultuous relationship. The killing of Haiti’s president, severe political unrest, and a deteriorating economic crisis have all presented challenges to U.S. policy, which Trump attempted to address by limiting immigration from the country.