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Latin America & Caribbean

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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Safety Nets Catch Latin American Poor

Carlos Molina's picture

Social protection programs have proven critical to stop the most vulnerable Latin Americans from falling into extreme poverty during the recent economic crisis, argues an Independent Evaluation Group Report. World Bank expert Rafael Rofman explains in this video blog how these programs have benefitted the poor in Argentina.

Are Higher Food Prices Really Bad for the Poor?

Francisco Ferreira's picture

Older readers may still remember the Prebisch-Singer thesis: the proposition that developing countries suffered from a "secular" deterioration in their terms of trade vis-à-vis industrial countries, because commodity prices tended to exhibit a long-run decline relative to those of manufactures…. The argument implied that poor countries, and the poor farmers that constituted the bulk of their population, were victims of sustained declines in the price of food, and other primary commodities, of which they were net producers.

Latin America, Africa Partner on Managing Commodity Wealth

John Nash's picture

It's only fitting that a country largely built on mineral abundance has been the venue for a critical discussion on how to manage natural resource wealth.

A group of World Bank experts, including myself, met in Johannesburg last week with high-level policy makers, civil society representatives and academics, to exchange experiences and enhance our understanding of the theoretical and practical issues unique to resource-dependent economies. As a long-standing major commodity exporting region, Latin America has many lessons of experience – positive and negative -- to share with other developing regions on management of the wealth from natural resources.

There is nothing ‘Natural’ in Natural Disasters

Joaquin Toro's picture

In the last few months we have witnessed "natural events" that have resulted in huge disasters with tragic consequences. From the November Rio de Janeiro mudslides to the March Japan tsunami and, more recently and closer to home, the tornadoes that devastated large parts of Missouri, 'natural disasters' are becoming household names.

How resilient really were emerging economies to the global crisis?

Tatiana Didier's picture

Pretty much like in any crisis of huge proportions, the real story of what happened during the global financial crisis is beginning to emerge after the dust has finally settled.

For Latin America and the Caribbean, the story is slightly different than what has previously been reported. Yes, the region weathered the recession well compared to other, emerging and developed, economies and resumed growth faster than many. But it didn't emerge from it largely unscathed as was initially suggested.

Latin America: stop road deaths now

Aurelio Menéndez's picture

Latin America: stop road deaths now

From now until 2020, 10 million people – the population of a small Latin American country – are expected to die in traffic accidents around the world. Latin America itself is a prime victim of this trend: sadly, the region endures the highest number of fatalities caused by automobile accidents in the world.

However, this number could be halved if every single one of us commit to improving road safety. The international community has already moved this issue at the top of its agenda by joining the United Nations in declaring 2011-2020 as the "Decade of Action for Road Safety", which kicks off this week.

Latin America: more public-private partnerships needed to improve infrastructure

Jordan Schwartz's picture

Latin America: more public-private partnerships needed to improve infrastructure

There are three people in Latin American and the Caribbean who care about Public-Private Partnerships or PPPs as they’re widely known. You may have met them. You might even be one. In case not, let me introduce you...

First and foremost, please meet Madame Minister of Finance. She’s busy, she’s stressed and she’s always balancing two concerns that run counter to each other, at least in the short run: growth and budget. Private investment in services might help one without hurting the other.

Is climate change to blame for high food prices?

John Nash's picture


If you were to throw out the question of what, if any, is the connection between climate change and the current food crisis, I suspect that many people would answer instinctively that global warming is at least partially responsible for the spiraling food prices.  Why? Because –they would argue- it caused the various extreme weather events that disrupted production in major producing regions from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to Australia to Latin America’s  Southern Cone. 

Is the hypothesis of that connection valid?  Well, no and yes.  ‘No’, in the sense that we really can’t attribute specific climatic events to global warming. After all, even without climate change, extreme events happen:  a once-in-a-hundred-year event happens once in a hundred years (duh!).

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