After last week’s regional focus on Africa, this week we focused our reading on social enterprise and development in Latin America.
“Latin America Report: Ready for Explosive Growth” on Renewable Energy World
Many Latin American nations are reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and by transitioning toward renewable energies like wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels. Wind energy prices are increasingly competitive, especially in Brazil, which are expanding so rapidly that wind farms may very overtake natural gas thermal plants in the next 5 years. With high hopes for solar, Renewable Energy World is launching a weekly report on Latin America. Watch out for in on Wednesdays.
“Rural Peru gets connected” by Mattia Cabitza on The Guardian Poverty Matters Blog
Revolutionizing life in Peru, where one in four people live without electricity, 130 rural communities are benefitting from the Euro-Solar Programme. The program reaches “more than 300,000 people whose communities are not connected to the electricity grid.” Each community received solar panels and the free EU kit, which allowed them to run dozens of electronics, including an antenna for satellite Internet. The investment of ~$47.6 million is also benefiting seven other Latin American nations.
“Survey shows confidence in SMEs amount banks in South America” on MicroFinance Focus
SMEs in South America will be crucial to the development of the region, according to a survey of 170 regional banks that are looking to increase their credit portfolio in the sector. This year, 89% of banks actively lend to SMEs, up 13% from 2008. This type of support and confidence in the SME sector helps foster entrepreneurship and continued growth in the region.
According to Eclac, the UN’s regional economic body, there are 177 million people living in poverty in Latin America. That’s 31.4% of the total regional population. The good news is that level is down from 1990, when 48.4% of the population lived in poverty. Poverty and inequality are on the decline, but to maintain this, there is a need for employment in high productivity sectors. See Eclac’s report for full details: Social Panorama of Latin America 2011 (PDF).
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