One reason for Haitis poverty is that they paid a double debt to France after it’s independence
Date created: 2022-06-07
The slaves on Haiti fought for independence and got it in 1804, but the French returned a few years later and required reparations for “lost property” (the slaves).
The amount was huge and impossible to pay, but the Haitian leadership agreed anyways. They then received loans from French banks with high interest and other fees, thus creating a Double debt: To pay France, Haiti took out a loan to France and paid interest to French banks.
Haiti continued to pay the reparations until 1888 but the loan payments didn’t end until the late 1950s. This has drastically hampered Haiti’s economical development, with huge Opportunity cost compared to if the money had stayed in the country to be used for domestic causes. One way Haiti paid off the debt was by heavily taxing coffee, the country’s main export.