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Back from the brink: visiting Medellin 20 years later

Felipe Jaramillo's picture

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Medellin

Rewind 20 years. Medellin, Colombia, is the murder capital of the world, with over 300 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

Pablo Escobar and his drug trafficking cronies are the heroes of the comunas -- the hillside low-income barrios that oversee the skyscrapers of the modern downtown. Shootings, kidnappings and rampant lawlessness are the stuff of daily headlines. Teenage boys in the comunas want to be Escobar henchmen, quick with the gun and fast with the girls. And after Escobar was killed in a graphic shootout with police in 1994, they dream of becoming paramilitary ‘rambos’, inspired by the violent squads that plagued the countryside since the mid-1990s.

Making Latin America’s decade a reality

Hasan Tuluy's picture

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Making Latin America’s decade a reality

As I get ready to join the discussions on Latin America's development at the IDB's Montevideo Assembly, one word keeps coming to me in slow motion, like scenes from a movie: part-ner-ships.

It is easy to see why such word is so important these days of uncertainty in global markets and economies -where joining efforts has been the sensible way forward and out of major peril.

Can business save the planet?

Lindsay Clinton's picture

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Can business save the planet?

This year marks two especially significant milestones in sustainable development: the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the 25th anniversary of the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future.

How far have we come since the concept of sustainable development was elevated to the global policy agenda? To put it simply, not far enough....

"How I managed to turn disability into opportunity"

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Personas con discapacidad luchan por inclusión social

In 1980, as a pilot with the Ecuadorean Air Force, I suffered a serious accident while flying to remote Amazonian communities. A spinal cord injury had me on the verge of death.

The doctors who treated me in Quito told my family that, given the seriousness of my injury, I had little chance for survival. The accident paralyzed me from head to toe – quadriplegia, in medical terms. Unfortunately, 30 years ago my country did not have the medical facilities to treat these cases. I received intensive care at a U.S. hospital.

Latin America’s financial sector needs to prepare for new risks

Alain Ize's picture

Finances

In stark contrast with Latin America’s rich history of financial crises and turbulence, this time around the region’s financial systems have weathered the current global volatility and the Great Recession rather well.

Why should then one want to conduct an extensive study on financial issues in Latin America and the Caribbean? We think the study, Financial Development in Latin America & the Caribbean, the Road Ahead, is timely because the region still faces substantial developmental gaps and issues that require attention.

Latin America's poor not protected enough against rising food prices

Margaret Grosh's picture

Latin America's poor not protected enough against rising food prices

As the threat of a new global crisis eats away the world’s expectations of a prompt economic recovery, our eyes are again focused on rising food prices and their potential impact on Latin America and the Caribbean’s own recovery.

Now, you may argue that the region is well equipped to weather another meltdown, and that the region’s poor are shielded from the impacts of such developments. After all, Latin America has been praised worldwide for its safety nets, right?

Beyond Growth: Is investing in infrastructure good for people’s well-being?

Jordan Z. Schwartz's picture

Beyond Growth:  Is investing in infrastructure good for people’s well-being? / World Bank Photo Collection

In our last blog, we asked whether it is possible for an infrastructure investment in Latin America and the Caribbean to hit the triple win: spur growth, aid societal well-being, and help the environment.

One young woman, on the World Bank Facebook page, posted this plea: "We as citizens have to demand these types of investments from our governments: modern roads, clean energy, investments that create employment without contaminating." ("Nosotros como ciudadanos tenemos que exigir ese tipo de inversiones a nuestros gobiernos: vías modernas, energía limpia que dé trabajo y no contamine.")

I take this as a signal that we should move beyond growth, so...

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 Z. 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.

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