By Narayan Ammachchi
The middle class in the majority of Latin American countries continues to improve, lifted millions of people out of poverty, says the United Nation’s 2013 Human Development Report.
The report titled ‘The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World’ analyses the progress made by the developing countries and lauds innovative social programs – such as Mexico’s Oportunidades program and Brazil’s Bolsa Familia – in the region.
Access to good healthcare services, education and employment skills will enable more number of people to find jobs and join the middle class in the days ahead, the report added.
“The rise of the South is one of the most remarkable phenomenon in the new global arena,” said Heraldo Muñoz, UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The report lauds Brazil, Chile and Mexico for what it calls ‘exemplary innovation’ in social policy and appreciates their effort to integrate with the global markets.
In Brazil, for example, the percentage of the population living on less than US$1.25 a day dropped from 17.2 percent to 6.1 percent between 1990 and 2009.
By 2030, Latin America and the Caribbean will be home to one in 10 members of an emerging global middle class, the report forecasted.
Billions of people across the world are becoming increasingly educated, socially engaged and internationally interconnected. Four of the five countries with the largest number of Facebook users are in the South: Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico.
Many companies in Brazil, the report said, are encouraged to export and compete globally. Brazil’s Embraer, for example, is now the world’s leading producer of mid-sized jet aircraft. Chile encouraged investment in sectors where the country had a comparative advantage, such as wine, wood products and fish farming, which would also boost employment in the country’s rural south, the report said.