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Help for young women

More than 30 wives of heads of state from the Americas meeting in Ottawa, Canada, in October, issued a declaration urging their countries’ governments to do more to help preschool children, prevent violence to women, and provide education to young women with unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. According to a Pan American Health Organization report issued at the meeting, 20 percent of the children born each year in Latin America have an adolescent mother; in 3 percent of the cases, the mother is under the age of 15. Next year’s gathering of first ladies will take place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Backing for Colombia reforms

Beset by a flagging economy and increased internal conflict, Colombia will receive a total of $4.2 billion in financing to support a wide-ranging reform strategy agreed to by that country and the International Monetary Fund. The program, which is designed to restore confidence and reinvigorate the economy, will include financing for a social safety net. Measures include expanding social spending by $900 million over the next three years. The IDB is contributing $1.7 billion to the program. Other backers are the World Bank, the Andean Development Corporation and the Latin American Reserve Fund.

Slow growth still dogs region

Latin America’s economic growth is still too slow to create the jobs needed to reduce income inequalities and poverty, said IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias at a forum on development banking held in October in Mexico City. He pointed to low rates of domestic savings as both a cause and a consequence of the lagging growth. With inadequate savings of its own, the region must put itself at the mercy of the fickle external capital markets.

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