Caribbean countries urged to do more to reduce poverty

Caribbean countries urged to do more to reduce poverty


CMC – The World Bank says in order to win the fight against poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), children need to have better access to basic opportunities.

According to new data released to coincide with International Day of the Eradication of Poverty, the World Bank notes that from 2000 to 2014, extreme poverty -people living under US$2.50 a day- in Latin America and the Caribbean – decreased to 10.8 per cent from 25.5 per cent .

But the Washington-based financial institution said the reduction since 2012 has taken place at a much slower pace as a result of the economic slowdown.

At the same time, the bank said inequality went down marginally, although it still remains high.

In addition, the World Bank said the region made significant gains in expanding access to opportunities, especially to basic services, such as electricity and school enrolment.

However, it said continued progress is being overshadowed by the current economic slowdown, “which has already stopped the expansion of the middle class.”

“For the region to continue with the great social transformation it embarked upon since the turn of the century, we need to ensure that every child is given a fair chance to fulfil his or her true potential,” said Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In the context of economic slowdown, it is even more important to improve opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, such as access to a good education.”

The World Bank’s 2016 Human Opportunity Index (HOI) “Seeking Opportunities for All,” measures how equitably children, age 16 and under, have access to services needed for a productive life such as education, water and sanitation, electricity and internet.

While the analysis shows important gains in access to electricity and school enrollment – over 90 per cent coverage – the region still lags in access to running water, sanitation and internet, the World Bank said.

“Unequal access to essential services can hinder the development and well-being of children, which ultimately limits their productivity in adult life and affects the region’s potential to boost growth and further reduce poverty in the long term,” said Oscar Calvo-Gonzalez, author of the report and World Bank Practice Manager for Poverty and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Unfortunately, having parents with low education and income, as well as living in rural areas, remain important barriers for access to opportunities and economic mobility from one generation to the next,” he added.


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