By Angel Melguizo, Vice President, Economic, External & Regulatory Affairs, VRIO Corp; Eduardo Salido Cornejo, Head, Public Affairs Intelligence, Telefónica Hispanoamérica; and Welby Leaman, Senior Director, Global Policy Strategy, Walmart
Covid-19 put in stark relief the urgent need for accelerated digitalisation around the world. The good news is that so many people stepped up to meet this challenge. In many parts of the private sector, digital rollout that business executives thought would take years was achieved in weeks or even days, as customers’ digital adoption soared. Latin America was no exception to this phenomenon: in mid-March 2020, internet traffic increased by more than 40% practically overnight. The robustness of telecommunications infrastructure in the region – built by decades of investment – and the flexibility of many Latin American governments during the pandemic, were among the factors that facilitated this transition.
By Rita Da Costa, Senior Counsellor and Head of Development in Transition, Adriana Caicedo, Policy Analyst and Martina Lejtreger, External Consultant, OECD Development Centre
Deepening economic disparity, inequalities and social injustice have been at the heart of the mass demonstrations that have multiplied in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) since late 2019. This trend is likely to intensify in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the number of people in poverty has increased by 22 million since the start of the COVID-19 crisis and inequalities continue to rise, the stock of wealth held by billionaires in LAC has risen by more than 40%. The current context opens a window of opportunity for LAC to exit the crisis by establishing a new social contract, but this will require a step change in international co-operation.
By Ana Lucía Gutiérrez González, Producer of Granadilla Podcast – Peruanas rompiéndola en el extranjero, Peruvian based in Israel
Over 50% of migrants from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela in 2019, were women. According to the First World Survey for the Peruvian Community Abroad in 2020, around 3.5 million Peruvians were living abroad, more than 10% of the Peruvian population. Of these, 9% are professional migrants – white-collar workers, scientists and researchers, for example. They form part of what I consider to be Peru’s sixth wave of migration.
By Gerardo Bracho, International Co-operation Expert and Member of the Mexican Foreign Service
We still do not have all the details on the “World Plan for Fraternity and Well-Being” that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently proposed at the UN. What is clear, however, is its ambition to pull our present paradigm of international co-operation for development out of the doldrums.
By Romina Boarini, Director of the OECD WISE Centre (Centre for Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity) and Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Director of OECD Development Centre
The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region has experienced considerable gains in well-being over the past two decades, according to the new report How’s Life in Latin America? Measuring Well-being for Policy Making by the OECD Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity (WISE) and the OECD Development Centre. The eleven countries studied in the report – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay – have experienced many improvements in quality of life since the early 2000s such as increased life expectancy, reduced child and maternal mortality, and better access to drinking water. The number of people in absolute poverty (i.e. those whose income is not enough to meet basic needs such as food or shelter) has declined – from 1 in 3 in 2006 to 1 in 5 by 2019 – and the share of the population with an upper secondary education has risen from 34% to 46%.
By Camila Pereira, Director of Education, Lemann Foundation
With over 180,000 schools closed from March 2020 to August 2021, remote learning became the only option for Brazil’s 47 million students. Despite huge efforts by educators, public officials and families to support children while they were away from classrooms, a big impact on learning is expected. Brazilian education has long suffered from deeply entrenched inequalities and gaps that have been worsened by COVID-19. What solutions are needed for Brazil to overcome these inequalities?