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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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Making states more capable: Building and implementing national strategies

This chapter stresses the need to continue enhancing domestic capacities to overcome development traps and therefore improve citizens’ well-being. A key starting point is National Development Plans (NDPs), which prioritise policies and adopt a well organised and comprehensive approach. Although these plans are country-specific, they have common targets and challenges in design and implementation. The chapter highlights the importance of improving and increasing public spending for successful implementation of such plans. It insists NDPs should navigate effectively in the political economy. Finally, the chapter focuses on the need to increase domestic resources for development to finance sustainable development, considering the role of taxes, financial markets, national development banks and public-private partnerships.

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