Latin American Economic Outlook 2019

Development in Transition

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Latin America and the Caribbean has seen a remarkable socio-economic progress since the beginning of the century. Countries strengthened their macroeconomic situations, living standards improved, and poverty and inequality declined. Yet, large structural vulnerabilities remain and new ones have emerged. Many of these are linked to countries’ transition to higher income and development levels. The Latin American Economic Outlook 2019: Development in Transition (LEO 2019) presents a fresh analytical approach to the region’s development trajectories. It assesses four development traps relating to productivity, social vulnerability, institutions and the environment. It outlines local opportunities for responding to these traps and seeks ways of improving the interactions and interlinkages between global public goods and national development agendas, all in the context of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. LEO 2019 calls for improving domestic capacities and adopting a new vision of international co-operation as a facilitator to support efforts to achieve sustainable development for all throughout the region.

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Uruguay has made strong improvements in development outcomes during the last decades. The country performs well compared to other LAC countries on a range of indicators, including education, poverty reduction, health, environmental sustainability, corruption and citizen security. The share of the population living on less than USD 5.5 a day (2011 PPP) decreased by more than four times from 17.1% to 3.7% over 2006-16. The share of vulnerable population – those living on USD 5.5-13 a day (2011 PPP) – also decreased from 38.1% to 23.8% over the same period. This decrease made Uruguay the best performer in the region for its achievements in poverty reduction. Moreover, the maternal mortality ratio and the infant mortality rate are 15 per 100 000 live births and 7 per 1 000 live births, respectively. These rates are well below the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) average and in line with the OECD average of 14 and 5.7 respectively.

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