According to the World Bank, one in five people in Latin America are chronically poor.
Brazil, in particular, continues to face economic and political instability which has impacted the country’s ability to fight poverty. “We don’t have data for 2015, but we know there is an important economic crisis, with a recession and unemployment rise, and it is very likely that will negatively impact on poverty numbers,” said Alicia Barcena, head of the U.N.’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in a Voice of America article.
However, one of the greatest success stories is Peru, where the poverty rate declined from 54.7 percent in 2001 to 22.7 percent in 2014.
According to World Bank research, there are two key reasons that Peru has seen its poverty rates decrease — economic growth and sound fiscal policies. Much of this growth comes from an increase in exports, particularly of metals like gold and copper.
However, while Peru has been successful at reducing poverty, there are lessons that can also be taken away from its shortcomings. “Leaders must improve their ability to deliver services to the poor. Without improved capacity for quality delivery, even the best policies will mean little to their intended beneficiaries,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.
Peru needs improvements to its infrastructure and social services, as the gap between rural and urban areas remains significant. The World Bank has helped to address these issues by “supporting the government in improving equity through social services, infrastructure and competitiveness, while continuing to preserve macroeconomic stability”.
It is hoped that other Latin American countries will take a cue from Peru when it comes to reducing poverty and securing sustainable futures for families and communities.
– Emily Milakovic