Partners in Health

March 10, 2010

Rebuild Haiti With Solar Power, Not Firewood?

This week's edition of The Economist magazine includes an article about Haiti entitled "Island in the sun", which begins by saying that:

It might seem callous in the aftermath of 230,000 deaths in January’s earthquake to talk about the opportunity offered by the rebuilding of Haiti. But merely restoring the most benighted country in the Americas to its previous misery would be culpable. Among the opportunities is to improve Haiti’s energy infrastructure.

Even the online version of the Economist's statistics on global economic activity don't include Haiti, so we need to look somewhere else to try and find out what they mean by the term "benighted country". The Thompson Reuters Foundation AlertNet site gives us an idea of how "benighted" Haiti actually is. It uses Gross National Income per capita as a measure of standard of living, and this is what it reveals. The standard of living in Haiti is so low you can barely make it out on the chart. For 2006, the most recent year for which full statistics are available, the numbers are as follows:

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