From the Editor Finance & Development, September 2015, Vol. 52, No. 3
Under Pressure Between 2004 and 2013, Latin America recorded impressive growth and strong progress on a range of social issues. High commodity prices combined with strengthened economic management and progressive social policies to propel the region forward.
This strength was all the more striking against the backdrop of the 2008–09 global financial crisis, which mired many advanced economies in recession but saw emerging markets, including many in Latin America, power ahead. This led some observers to dub the period the “Latin American decade.” Now, as the world’s economic leaders prepare to gather in Lima, Peru, in October for the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the picture looks quite different.
Growth per capita ground to a halt in 2014 and budgets in many countries are under pressure. A decline in the price of commodities—the backbone of the region’s exports—and an overall moderation of global trade weigh on the region’s economies.
This issue of F&D examines challenges facing the region and explores ways to boost growth in the face of slumping commodity prices. Avoiding a prolonged slowdown is critical to realizing the region’s key goals: raising incomes of the poor, strengthening education and health care, and ensuring widely shared economic gains.
Columbia University professor and former Colombian Finance Minister José Antonio Ocampo leads off our cover feature on Latin America. He chronicles the region’s strong performance over the past decade and argues that to regain its...