As Russia continues its invasion into Ukraine, questions are being raised about how the conflict will affect the world at large. Here’s a brief list of the ties both countries have to Haiti and how the Russo-Ukrainian war might impact the Caribbean country.
Ties to Russia and Ukraine
- A small community of Haitians is in Moscow, comprising mainly students at the University of Peoples’ Friendship, as of 2018. Some Haitians also study at other universities.
- In 2019, relations between Haiti and Russia expanded after Bocchit Edmond, then Haiti’s Foreign Minister, announced plans to make visits between Russians and Haitians visa-free to each country. It’s unclear whether these plans were implemented.
- In January, Ukraine announced its own visa measures to Haiti, which allows Haitian citizens to stay in Ukraine for 30 days.
- On Mar. 1, the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced via Twitter that Haitian students in Ukraine had been evacuated to Slovakia.
Potential impact on Haiti
- Russia exports $6.78 million worth of supplies to Haiti, including wheat, plastic pipes and medical instruments. A lack of these items, particularly medical instruments, would continue to hurt Haiti further.
- According to economist Enomy Germain, the Russia-Ukraine conflict will increase inflation in Haiti. Haiti is already experiencing high inflation rates, soaring from 19.7% in October of last year to 24.6% a month later.
- The conflict would disrupt global supply chain issues, which is already a problem. As of last year, Haiti was suffering from a lack of lumber, automobiles, shoes and bikes, among numerous items.
- Food insecurity will also be impacted, according to Germain. Currently, food insecurity is at its highest level ever in Haiti, as 4.4 million people, or over 30% of the population, do not have access to food.
- Fuel prices in Haiti have soared in recent months. As the conflict broke, the cost of crude oil surged in several countries. This worldwide trend is expected to greatly impact Haiti, already plagued by fuel scarcity.