Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

The risk of throwing it all away

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on April 4, 2011

by The Economist, March 31st, 2011.

Populists like Ollanta Humala threaten to overcome divided moderates in one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies

Living in Peru’s capital is like watching a film on fast-forward. Every few months you can spot a taller skyscraper, a swankier hotel, glossier shops and restaurants, new roads—and more traffic. House prices in the leafier neighbourhoods have almost doubled in the past two years. Rapid change is not confined to Lima. The only provincial cities of any size that do not already boast one or more new shopping malls and multiplex cinemas are about to get them. These are the tangible results of a decade in which Peru’s GDP grew by over 5% a year, the highest rate among Latin America’s bigger economies.

Since 2006 the growth has accelerated, averaging 7% despite the world recession. Some good effects have been widespread. The share of Peruvians living in poverty fell from 49% in 2004 to 35% in 2009. Much of the Pacific coast, where farmers export asparagus, grapes and a plateful of other products, enjoys full employment. Though many parts of the Andean highlands remain poor, the arrival of paved roads is cutting journey times, and some farmers there have joined the export boom with artichokes and herbs. Social indicators have improved. Between 2005 and 2010 Peru climbed 24 places in the United Nations Human Development Report, which ranks countries by income, life expectancy and educational measures. It now scores better then Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela. (continue reading… )



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