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.
Raul is short, skinny and has an enormous smile. Looking at him, it was hard to believe that this fifteen-year-old had long been feared in his community as a gang leader and had been the author of horrible crimes in Colonia Santa Marta in El Salvador.
What does it take to make reforms work in small island countries?
At the end of June 2013, twelve Caribbean countries presented a roadmap for growth in three areas -logistics and connectivity, investment climate, skills and productivity- to a broad audience of private sector representatives, international development institutions, regional organization, civil society and media. That event culminated a 7-month long phase during which policy-making was not the result of close-doors meetings, but a process of intense negotiation, consultations, and consensus building among all actors of each Caribbean country’s societies. All of which was documented in real time and in a transparent fashion by each government. Yes, business was not “business as usual”.
Reforms priorities were agreed and a calendar for implementation brushed on a power point slide in the wonderful framework of five stars Bahamian hotel…After the workshop lights, projects and microphones shut down, many of us went home with a familiar sound in our ears: and now what? Was it another “talkshop”?
- economic growth
- world bank
- caribbean growth forum
- Social Development
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Global Economy
- Financial Sector
- Latin America & Caribbean
- Virgin Islands, British
- Trinidad and Tobago
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- St. Lucia
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Helena
- Dominican Republic
- Bahamas, The
- Antigua and Barbuda
Visiting a prison does not leave you feeling indifferent. After exhaustive security checks, you find yourself amid a sea of personal stories – many of them tragic – and the statistics begin to take on a human face. Life in prison is much more difficult than we imagine: discipline, strict schedules, cells shared with up to 20 strangers and views of the horizon that end with a security fence.
Confirming the dreadful situation of most Latin American prisons is nothing new. Overcrowding and the lack of health strategies are, along with corruption and the absence of effective reinsertion plans, some of the challenges faced by authorities across the region.
What happens when you grab an interdisciplinary group of skilled and highly motivated hackers, give them the task of improving the bus system of the city; and grant them full autonomy over the transport raw data which they had been trying to put their hands on for the last years?
One of the major aspirations of the World Bank is to make a real impact on the countries’ development. But when the Bank is a small player relative to the size of the country, can it be what we call transformational?
Delmas 32 is a tangled web of narrow alleys, defined by haphazard housing and makeshift structures. This community has been digging its way out of the 2010 earthquake, slowly but surely, and large piles of sand, rubble, bricks, and rebar pushing to the sky are a constant reminder of the work that remains.