OECD Territorial Reviews: Yucatan, Mexico 2007

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The Mexican state of Yucatán, with its strategically important location near the United States, Central America and the Caribbean, is one of the most dynamic regions in the OECD. Yucatán is also a land of contrasts. It is a lagging but growing region, offering a high quality of life and vast natural resources, yet suffering from problems of sustainability. Its tourism attractions are located in rural areas that do not benefit from them. It has both state and Peninsula medical services, but its health services coverage is uneven. Yucatan is a centre for higher education in the Peninsula, yet its graduates do not find jobs. It has a number of marginalised communities in fragmented administrative bodies, and although the Peninsular states share a common cultural heritage and attractiveness, their institutions do not co-operate.

Clearly, Yucatán is not taking full advantage of its many resources, and in fact, challenges in the region threaten to undermine local assets. Among these is the need to upgrade activities to higher value-added innovation and design processes, and to foster primary activities to reach international markets. While the state government has proposed programmes to spur formalisation of the informal economy, measures such as better regulation, cutting red tape and providing employment opportunities and access to formal credit could have a greater impact. The lack of a shared, coherent long-term vision is a fundamental challenge to improving regional competitiveness and social cohesion in Yucatán. The OECD’s recommendations can only be part of a larger strategy to develop a collective vision of the state’s future.

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