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Latin America & Caribbean

Latin America: women still struggle for equality at work and at home

Ana María Muñoz Boudet's picture

Portrait of young woman, Colombia. Photo: Jamie Martin / World Bank
Igualdad (equality) is perhaps one of the most important words in our language and in our culture – it helps us build better societies and the well-being of future generations. However, in Latin America and many other parts of the world, it has different meanings for men and women. 

For the past two decades, “opportunities for all” has been the maxim guiding the region’s public policy. But when we speak about gender equality, the urgency of this principle is questioned by many policy makers. The World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development confirms that gender equality is not only central to development, but a core development objective in its own right.

Brazil: fighting poverty with music

James Martone's picture

Brazil's celebrated love for music is playing a key role in the future of many underprivileged kids, especially women. But it isn't samba, forro, funk or any Hollywood-inspired dance moving thousands of Brazilian kids towards success. It is, instead, classical music.

Thanks to a community project supported by the World Bank more than 200 community associations receive funding to finance lessons and instruments for aspiring young musicians –many of whom have found jobs in philharmonic orchestras as a result of this training. Cameraman Romel Simon and I visited the city of Sao Tome in North Eastern Brazil to document the progress of this initiative, as part of a series of videos for our gender campaign.
 

Investing in infrastructure is still the best bet to spur growth, jobs

Jordan Schwartz's picture

 Investing in infrastructure is still the best bet to spur growth, jobs

Every profession has its fantasy Triple-Win. For a gambler at the horse races, it’s the Trifecta. For musicians, it is a song that breaks hearts, moves feet and sells records. Yet even we geeks have our dreams. In the field of infrastructure, in Latin America and elsewhere, the ultimate triple-win is an investment that

1. spurs economic growth

2. contributes to social well-being, and

3. helps the environment.

“Impossible!” you say. “The laws of nature could not possibly allow for growth that contributes to society’s well-being without taxing our natural endowment.” Is there no way we can unstick ourselves from the Kuznets Curve and uncover investments that spur Green and Inclusive Growth?

First two years of life are key to good jobs

Omar Arias's picture

In President Ollanta Humala's Peru just as in all of Latin America making good grades in school, finding a good job and having access to opportunities to get ahead largely depend on a single number: the first 1,000 days in the life of an individual, in other words, from conception to age two.

Honduras: Are high food prices fueling child malnutrition?

Marie Chantal Messier's picture

 Honduras:are high food prices fueling child malnutrition?

 

Recently, I was once again confronted with a puzzling situation I have seen too often during the course of my career: flat growth curves for children. This especially worried me in light of the current context of rising food prices and global economic instability, and the impact that previous crises have had on the nutritional status of mothers and children.

Peruvian Employers Seek Skills for A 21st Century Economy

Omar Arias's picture

Peruvian Employers Seek Skills for A 21st Century Economy

The prerequisites to get a good job in today’s economy are as uncertain as the economy itself. Some experts emphasize intelligence. Others say high math and reading skills are a must. Yet some experts laud entrepreneurship and that one need only to express themselves in a competitive and globalized world.

Obviously, all of this is important. Nevertheless, economists in recent years have discovered something that employers, psychologists and many educators and parents have known for a long time. A person’s socio-emotional qualities or “skills” are at least as important as their cognitive capacity or whatever knowledge they may have to place themselves in a changing labor market.

The ability to be responsible, punctual, organized, persevering, interact with others, react and adapt to new situations and experiences, describes –along with cognitive capacity– the generic abilities that are essential in a “well educated” labor force, one prepared to confront the challenges of the future.

Colombia: Continued demand for innovative development solutions

Sabine Hader's picture

Colombia: Continued demand for innovative development solutions. © Charlotte Kesl | World Bank

Colombia, a sophisticated middle income country, strives for innovative development solutions. Over the past years, the country made steady development progress in promoting sustainable growth and lasting peace, continued investments in infrastructure as well as strengthening more inclusive social policies. However, despite these favorable economic trends, the level of poverty, inequality and regional disparities persists and more needs to be done.

The current global context means that for development strategies to be effective, they have to include innovative and effective approaches that bring together the best inputs from different sectors. And that’s where the World Bank comes in. Today, the World Bank Group Executive Board endorsed its new five year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Colombia, which will help the South American country consolidate economic reforms, improve infrastructure development and enhance the effectiveness of social programs.

Central America: crime and violence eating up small business profits

Marcela Sanchez's picture

Central America: crime and violence eating up small business profits

From any tall building in Guatemala City you have a bird's eye view of a common site in cities across Latin America and the Caribbean: lodged in the alleys and walkways between modern highrises, low tin-roof structures shelter the hard world of the informal economy.

Those are usually the structures of small businesses, such as the one belonging to Cristina Lajuj's, currently feeling the pressure of the spiral of crime and violence that is threatening Central America's own prosperity. For more than 11 years, Lajuj has been making a living selling tortillas and other typical dishes. In a space just off a parking lot and smaller than a Washington DC food truck, five women begin mixing corn flour at 6:30 every morning. By 8AM a basket full of warm tortillas and a small plate of cheese slices await the clientele of office workers, delivery men and other street vendors.

Les prix alimentaires, ou l’ingestion du coût de la logistique

Jordan Schwartz's picture

Du déjà-vu.

Nous voilà de nouveau en train d'essayer de disséquer les causes profondes de la hausse des prix alimentaires qui ont repris leur progression haletante en direction des niveaux record de 2008. Est-ce là le résultat de la spéculation sur les marchés des produits ? de l'envol de la demande de céréales fourragères dans les pays asiatiques ? de la réaffectation de terres jusque là consacrées à la culture de produits alimentaires à la production de biocombustibles ? Pour nos spécialistes de l'agriculture, de l'énergie et des transports, la réponse est claire : « oui, oui et encore oui ».

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Food Prices: Eating the Cost of Logistics

Jordan Schwartz's picture

Déjà vu.

Once again we find ourselves trying to dissect the root causes of food price increases as they bump and grind their way back toward their 2008 peaks. Is it speculation in commodity markets? Is it the booming demand from Asia for feed grains? Is it land use switching out from food crops to biofuels? The sentiment among our agriculture, energy and transport specialists is that the answer to these questions is: "Yes. All of the above."

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