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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%.

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 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.

So-called natural disasters are not unpredictable

Niels Holm-Nielsen's picture

También disponible en español

 

No two earthquakes in the world cause equal damage, according to scientists. This is particularly true in Latin America, a land of contrasts.

Whereas in 2010, an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale ravaged Haiti, claiming nearly a quarter of a million lives, a few weeks ago in Mexico, an earthquake of similar magnitude (7.4) caused only a few cracks and minor injuries.

Low Cost Banking: How Retail Stores and Mobile Phones Can Transform Access to Finance

Ignacio Mas's picture

More than 3 billion people in the world today don’t have access to savings accounts. Many of these 3 billion fall below the less-than-$2-per-day benchmark of the world’s poorest people. Why are banks not doing a better job to help them manage their financial lives?

The problem is largely one of cost. Providing financial services to the poor is prohibitively expensive for banks. Each time a client stands in front a of a teller’s window it costs most banks from $1 to $3. If poor clients make transactions of $1 or $2, or even less, banks won’t be able to support the costs.

It’s also too costly for the poor. Most poor people, especially those in rural areas, live far away from bank branches. Let me give one example of a woman in Kenya. The nearest branch may be 10 kilometers away, but it takes her almost an hour to get there by foot and bus because she doesn’t have her own wheels. With waiting times at the branch, that’s a round-trip of two hours – a quarter or so of her working day gone.  While the bus fare is only 50 cents, that’s maybe one fifth of what she makes on an average day. So each banking transaction costs her the equivalent of almost half a day’s wages.

Mobile Affordability Gap in Latin America

Arturo Muente-Kunigami's picture

Mobile Affordability Gap in Peru

With the increase in geographic coverage and the adoption of prepaid phones, penetration in Latin America has increased dramatically. Wireless Intelligence estimates that mobile penetration in the Americas is approximately 88% as of March, 2010.


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