How much do Latin American economies need to grow to fight poverty?

The study, published last April, predicted growth of 1.4% in 2023 and 2.4% in 2024, which the results say is not enough to “alleviate poverty or eliminate social tensions.”

The worst prospects are in Chile, where the World Bank forecasts an economic contraction of 0.7% in 2023; and Argentina, for which he assesses stagnation.

“We have lost many years due to the epidemic,” noted the expert.

A World Bank report shows that the poverty rate in the region rose from 29.7% in 2019 to 34.4% in 2020, with about 19 million people entering the situation, representing a regression of seven years or more compared to previous data.

“Obviously, there are many policies to help families on different dimensions. I always say, improving public education, for example, is a great way to improve social mobility,” but “in the long run, the most effective way to reduce poverty is through economic growth.

“We need to work on both fronts,” he says, “at the family level, making sure we have a well-established, well-funded social safety net, but the long-term issue is development,” he stresses.

Regional integration

Regarding Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s call for a resumption of regional integration, Maloney believes these initiatives will promote economies of scale so that Latin American companies can expand and access local markets.

“Exporting to our neighbors is generally a good product to export to the world, if you think about it strategically,” he adds.

In the long term, he pointed out, “the goal is to achieve greater transfer of technological know-how to the region and that comes from countries on the technological frontier.”

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