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Struggling economy weakens impact of Diaspora remittances

Diaspora has potential to facilitate Haiti’s economic development

CAM location in Little Haiti, Brooklyn. Photo credit: Garry Pierre-Pierre

By Sam Bojarski

Although his children now live in the United States, Nondieux Mathurin of Rockland County, New York, regularly sends money to their mother in Haiti. Mathurin has a niece and nephew there as well, who need support from time to time.

“Sometimes they call me and say, ‘uncle I’m dead broke,’ and I have to send something to them. They’re not employed, to be honest with you there are no (places) over there now where people can go to work,” said Mathurin, a Haitian native who has been living in the U.S. since 1974.

Remittances give recipients a push, providing them with something to live on, while helping pay for basic necessities. The money makes a big difference in their lives, according to Mathurin.

“I know a lot of Haitian families here in the United States support their loved ones in Haiti,” he also said, acknowledging the sheer amount of money the diaspora contributes in remittances each year.

Last year alone, Haitians living abroad sent nearly $2.5 billion back to their home country, an amount that accounted for 26.5 percent of Haiti’s GDP, the World Bank has reported. But while remittances help recipients pay for essentials, Haiti’s economy has few productive investment opportunities for this money, and government authorities have demonstrated an inability to channel it effectively.

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Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski, a freelance journalist, has reported in communities from Pennsylvania to Port-au-Prince. His work has appeared in national publications, as well as local newspapers in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
Sam Bojarski
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Apr. 17, 2019