Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest countries in the developing world. Its per capita income--$ 250--is considerably less than one-tenth the Latin American average. About 80 percent of the rural Haitian population live in poverty. Moreover, far from improving, the poverty situation in Haiti has been deteriorating over the past decade, concomitant with a rate of decline in per capita GNP of 5.2 percent a year over the 1985-95 period.