For the Americas, 2012 was largely a positive year in many ways. As important economic and social indicators show an improvement, there is a sense of optimism throughout the region, especially in Latin America. While the United States’ presidential campaign, which polarised ideas and citizens earlier this year, focused on the still weak economic situation, many Latin American and Caribbean countries have high growth rates and show signs of poverty reduction.
Exports climbed in both volume and value, the middle classes grew significantly, and foreign investment returned strongly to the region. Poverty rates decreased by more than 15 per cent In Latin America and theCaribbeanin the last decade. Coupled with these positive developments is the fact that democracy seems to have become firmly established as the predominant system of government in a region where, only a few decades ago, dictatorships and civil wars were the order of the day.
All these points are reasons to celebrate. But is the picture really that rosy when looking at it in more detail? This is where corruption steps in. As the Corruption Perception Index 2012 launched today shows,Latin America as a region is doing worse than the global average. The Index ranks 176 countries according to their perceived levels of public sector corruption, 32 of which are in theAmericas. Two-thirds of those do not even make it to the middle of the global ranking – indicating that corruption is a serious problem in many countries.
Indeed, corruption is a nasty word in this part of the world. What remains to be seen is how globalization of human resources can out pace the stronghold in these sectors. Could there be an opening for exportation to US economies in the future?
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