AFRICANGLOBE – Haiti will officially become a member of the African Union at the next African Union (AU) Summit which will take place in Lilongue, Malawi this June. Although this decision is novel for a diaspora country, Haiti undeniably has some shared links with Africa.
Haiti Is The First ‘Out Of Africa’ Country To Join The African Union, But Is It Really?
Haiti is famous throughout the African Diaspora for a number of reasons other than the fact that it is a predominantly Black country. The first that calls out to most African states is its significant population of African descendants. In 1804 it became the first Black Republic, when a group of Africans defeated the French to earn the nation’s freedom. An act which made the Island special to Africans and African countries all over the world. Haiti has made recognizable diplomatic efforts to the advent of free African States. It was the first Black Republic that carried high the flame of liberation and freedom for Black people. Haiti also greatly criticized the invasion of Ethiopia by Musolini’s Italy, stood against the war in Algeria, held its support for the independence of Libya and impacted on many African countries.
In January 2010, when Haiti was hit with a devastating earth quake, Haiti was shown love and support by several African countries. Senegal offered Haitians free land and Haitian students a place at its university. African countries pledged more than $8 million USD of which Republic of Congo pledged $2.5 million to aid the devastated country. At the AU Summit in 2010, Chairperson Jean Ping asked Haitians to repatriate to Africa. “We have an attachment and link to that country. The first Black Republic…that carried high the flame of liberation and freedom for Black people and has paid a heavy price in so doing,” said Jean Ping.
Also it is no news that Haitian meals are usually a fusion of Caribbean and African delicacies. It is not strange to find a bit of Okra (flowering plant in the mallow family used for soups and other dishes), Tard root and other African delicacies in their meals. Kompa, the country’s national music style can be linked to African music with its reliance on the African drums beat.
What This Could Mean For Haiti
Haiti is a country that depends on foreign aid and has been identified as one of the poorest countries in the world but it seems that is about to change. Becoming a full member of the African Union will avail the country several other options that will help boost its economy. They will be privy to the debt cancellation scheme, and likely benefit from the China- AU investments as Haiti currently attracts very little direct investments. It will also facilitate free trade between Haiti and other members of the African Union.
The country has also been called out as one of the poorest countries in the Americas, with high rates of unemployment, dependence on foreign aid—the list goes on. The devastating earth quake that hit the country about six years ago leaving several dead and displaced, only aggravated the situation as this further crippled an already collapsing economy. However they have since been on a long road to recovery and their soon to be affirmed membership with the African Union is a step closer.
By: Jessica Iwelu