Haitian Monetary Ecologies and Repertoires: A Qualitative Snapshot of Money Transfer and Savings

IMTFI researchers Espelencia Baptiste, Heather A. Horst, and Erin B. Taylor examine existing money savings and transfer systems in Haiti with an eye toward the development of new mobile money services. The report includes an appendix outlining the current steps involved in informal money transfers, with a breakdown of their cost.

Abstract: This report provides a qualitative snapshot of Haitian monetary ecologies six months after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010. The research examined the variety of ways in which money, people and goods circulate throughout Haiti in light of the changing economic, social and financial landscape. Based upon over ninety qualitative interviews and focus groups with Haitians located in four key sites throughout the country, the report focuses upon the challenges that many Haitians face in their efforts to send, receive, exchange and store money, and the role of mobile phones and other conduits in this process. Specifically, it addresses three key challenges that shape everyday Haitians’ attitudes towards money, trade and exchange and the potential for social change through new financial services: (1) Bureaucracy and Power; (2) Time and Cost; and (3) Security. The report concludes by providing a series of recommendations concerning then importance of social networks and intermediaries in moving money, the incorporation of the Haitian diaspora into financial inclusion models and the broader need to address Haitian values concerning savings, time and forms of exchange.

Download the final report, "Mobile Money in Haiti: Potentials and Challenges."

Download the progress report "Haitian Monetary Ecologies and Repertoires". *Note: These files are large and download times will be slow. To view  without downloading, click here to go to the pdf viewing site.

See a snapshot of "Time and  Cost of Money Transfers in Haiti".

Read the Haiti Money Blog.

*Photo title, "Mobile Minutes in Jacmel". Courtesy of Hermes Baez.