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Growing the middle class

Francisco Ferreira's picture

También disponible en español

Shoppers in Chile

Since the Great Recession of 2008, there has been a widespread sense of malaise among the American middle class. Their incomes are close to stagnant, employment has not recovered, and the gap between them and the famously rich top 1% continues to grow. Look south of the Rio Grande, though, and it is quite a different picture. In the last decade, moderate poverty (under U$ 4 a day) in Latin America and the Caribbean fell from over 40% to 28%.

Cost-Effective Conservation

Rachel Kyte's picture

También disponible en español

The success of the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA) drew a crowd here in Hyderabad at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting. This effort by the government of Brazil – supported by the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, WWF, and the German Development Bank (KfW) – is protecting almost 60 million hectares of rainforest, an area roughly the size of France and Belgium combined.

Speakers from the governments of Brazil and Germany, as well as from the GEF and foundations, all agreed that ARPA’s results are impressive: Between 2004 and 2006, ARPA accounted for 37 percent of Brazil’s substantial decrease in deforestation, and the program’s first 13 new protected areas will save more than 430 million tons of CO2 emissions through 2050.

Is there a silver lining in natural disasters? The answer is ‘yes’

Fernando Ramírez's picture

También disponible en español 

The earthquake in Costa Rica caused serious damage, including to major national utilities such as the water network. More than 1.3 million people in San Jose depend on this system for their daily water supply. The good news though, is that the supply of this vital resource is secure, thereby saving lives and inconvenience.

Although fictional, imagine receiving this piece of good news in the midst of a disaster, as described above.

What’s more. If you are an engineer like I am, imagine the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (s) (AyA or government water agency) reported that, while more than 15% of its infrastructure had been damaged extensively by this hypothetical earthquake, vital components such as water towers and pumping stations hadn’t been compromised.


Is the school day too short in Latin America?

Peter Holland's picture

Also available in Español, Portuguese

Do longer classroom hours equal good grades? Spending more time in school is a subject currently being discussed as one solution to improving students' academic performance with the ultimate goal of making countries more competitive in the global economy.

This is true for emerging and advanced economies alike.

Latin America: are we forever at the mercy of high oil prices?

Ariel Yepez's picture

También disponible en español


A few weeks ago a rare storm event known as "Derecho" ravaged the Washington, DC area, claiming many lives and leaving 1.3 million homes and business without electricity. My house was unfortunately among those hit hard by the power outage and in an attempt to cope with the 90F+ temperatures unleashed by the storm, we moved down to the basement -- generally, the coolest part of the house.

For the first few days the novelty was fun for the kids, but as the days wore on, frustration grew, in part because we had no idea when the power would come back on.

Two Decades Later, We’re Still Not Talking Enough About Sex

Keith Hansen's picture

También disponible en español, portuguese, francés

Over the past two decades the region has significantly raised the level of the conversation and awareness around the issue, developing national HIV/AIDS strategies, integrating responses to the epidemic into health systems and ensuring almost universal awareness of HIV risk factors.

But we’re still not talking enough about sex.


Minimum Wages Aren’t Always the Best Way to Improve Social Welfare

Edgard Rodriguez's picture

For most countries, raising the minimum wage has long been considered a way to protect poor workers and their families. In fact, this active labor market intervention represents a common social protection policy in many Latin American countries. But how effective are minimum wages in protecting the poor? It’s a timely question as the debate heats up over whether minimum wages help avoid “the race to the bottom” or serve as a major impediment to greater labor market flexibility and competitiveness.

Central America: learning how to create better jobs

Ana María Oviedo's picture

También disponible en español

Trabajo informal en Centroamerica


The global events of the last few years, beginning with the 2008 financial crisis, have revived the debate around job creation as a key element for economic recovery.


In Central America, the global financial crisis had a significant effect on production and employment, and even though the region has recovered, the debate regarding how to create better jobs is still going strong.


Do Investment Promotional Agencies Leave Investors Out in the Cold?

Paul Barbour's picture

This week, the World Bank Group’s Investment Climate Department hosted a stimulating discussion on the credit: Johanna Ljungblomeffectiveness of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs). The panel discussion coincided with the launch of the Investment Climate Department’s report on IPAs across the globe.  MIGA co-sponsored the report and pioneered its methodology. 

First, the bad news. This report makes for quite depressing reading for this startling finding: overall, the responsiveness of investment promotion intermediaries to investor inquiries is low, with 80% of IPAs not responding to sector-specific investor inquiries. This means that 80% of these organizations did not return a phone call or email from a foreign direct investment (FDI) “mystery shopper.” This translates to missed investment opportunities that are particularly needed now as the competition for FDI is so fierce.

Latin America to the world: lessons learned on austerity, growth, reforms

Hasan Tuluy's picture

También disponible en español

Made in Latin America

'Made in Latin America'. Wouldn't that be a great label? --one that would slowly work its way out of the realm of some imaginary Latin American products to become a real seal of approval for many endeavors and accomplishments by the region.

I'm in Miami for the Seventh Annual Latin America Conference to talk about the region's prospects to decision makers, and I can't think of a better place to come up with such label --'My-ami', I muse, the Latin American economic and social melting pot that has been called many times the region's business capital.