Nearshore Americas

UN Urges Latin America to Boost Human Development Through Formal Employment

Latin America has increased its ranking in the United Nation Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI), but analysts warn that vulnerabilities still threaten to reverse the progress made in recent years.

Latin America increased from 0.73 in 2010 to 0.74 in 2013 in the latest Human Development Index released by the UNDP last week. Chile is in top place, with an HDI of 0.82, followed by Cuba and Argentina (0.81), with Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras ranking from the bottom up.

The Human Development index is calculated on a range of factors including life expectancy, education and people’s purchasing power.

To make faster progress towards human development, the report said, countries in the region should implement policies to increase formal employment and push for universal access to social services.

The UN agency notes that Latin America is the developing region with the highest level of human development. However, since 2008 Latin America’s progress in human development has slowed by 25%.

Between 2010 and 2013, school attendance and dropout rates remained the same, but per capita income grew from US$12,926 to US$13,767.

Inequality is the biggest challenge facing the region but it has been on the decline in recent years. Rising wages, free and universal education and social development programs have played a part in reducing inequality. Yet the region has a long way to go to plug the gap between haves and have-nots.

In 14 Latin American and Caribbean countries, 7% of the population is in poverty and another 9.5% is at risk of falling into poverty due to multiple factors including lack of education, health hazards and declining living standards.

The UNDP has recommended the creation of a Latin American Monetary Fund to build up reserves, help stabilize exchange rates and provide short-term funds to member countries.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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