Extreme poverty rising in Latin America: UN

Extreme poverty rising in Latin America: UN


Extreme poverty is expected to affect 82 million people in Latin America in 2022, a rise driven by a slow recovery in the pandemic and high inflation, the UN Economic Commission for the region said on Thursday.

“It has not been possible to reverse the impact of the pandemic on poverty and extreme poverty,” said Jose Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The number represents 13.1 percent of the region’s population, up from 12.9 percent in 2021.

A total of 12 million more people have been affected by extreme poverty since 2019, i.e. before the Covid 19 pandemic.

Salazar-Xirinachs pointed to a “cascade of external shocks”, namely a slowdown in economic growth, a weak labor market recovery and rising inflation.

The Santiago-based UN agency said the extreme poverty figures were a “quarter-century setback” for the region.

In October, the agency forecast higher-than-expected growth of 3.2 percent in the region. However, this is expected to halve in 2023 with forecast growth of 1.2 percent.

The UN panel also highlighted the serious impact of the pandemic on education in Latin America and the Caribbean, with schools closed for an average of 70 weeks compared to 41 weeks elsewhere in the world.

The number of young people aged 18 to 24 who are neither studying nor working rose from 22.3 percent in 2019 to 28.7 percent in 2020.

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