"I became tired of loosing my friends to violent acts involving firearms, and seeing how the young the potential of my generation is lost in prisons and cemeteries." These are the words of Angel Bolivar Araya Castillo, the Coordinator of Youth Against Violence (YAV) Movement in Costa Rica. I had the privilege of meeting Angel this spring when he and six youth representatives from the YAV movement came to the World Bank to talk about the importance of youth participation in violence prevention.
For almost a decade, the large emerging market economies, including several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), have been regarded by analysts and investors as new engines of growth. The enthusiasm was further sparked when, after a short pause in 2009, emerging economies actually led the economic recovery in the world. A new story line seemed to dominate, that emerging market economies had finally arrived.
Many of our aspirations revolve around improving our personal finances—keeping better track of spending, saving towards a goal or perhaps getting out of debt. How can we work towards these goals and follow through on these changes?
The ritual publication by the leading multilateral organizations, think tanks and investment banks on the macroeconomic outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean which, without being too dramatic, puts an end to the era of growth rates above the region’s potential, has inevitably attracted the interest of policymakers, investors and the public in general.
The slow economic growth in 2013 and an equally discouraging forecast for 2014 will mark three years of unsatisfactory economic performance in Latin America. The truth, however, is that these results have confirmed performance that has been mediocre since the market reforms. Between 1990 and 2013, GDP growth was just 3.3% per year, which compares very unfavorably with the rate of 5.5% achieved between 1950 and 1980, during the State-led industrialization era.
However, large numbers of the new middle classes are economically vulnerable and lack the human capital necessary to keep ascending in the social ladder. Their expectations of higher income and more economic stability often have gone ahead of their actual conditions.
As Guillermo Perry observes, between 2003 and 2012, Latin America had the highest growth rates in several decades despite the effects of the 2009 global crisis. The region received an unprecedented volume of portfolio and foreign direct investment, improved its terms of trade on rising commodity prices, and benefited from the abundant international liquidity that came on the heels of the recession in the developed economies.
Latin America had the highest growth rates in several decades between 2003 and 2012, despite the effects of the 2009 global crisis. The boom of those years sparked unbridled optimism both in and outside the region. The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and several investment banks spoke of “the decade of Latin America,” as if we had finally taken off. And an unprecedented volume of portfolio and foreign direct investment flowed into our region.