Despite the fact that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, like the world in general, show clear signs of economic slowdown since 2022, a year otherwise marked by the shot at cost of livingThe region registers a slight advance in the reduction of the poverty and extreme poverty indices of its population with respect to the levels left by the pandemic.

This is one of the aspects highlighted by the ‘Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean 2022’, a document prepared by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal), in which it warns that last year the region grew by almost half (3.7 percent) compared to the previous year (6.7 percent).

(Also read: Dane revealed that the Colombian economy grew by 7.5% in 2022)

The improvements in the poverty and extreme poverty indices were barely 0.5 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively. So, Poverty in the region sheltered 32.3 percent of its population in 2021including 12.9 percent who were in a situation of extreme poverty, indicates the report revealed yesterday Wednesday.

It is estimated that Latin America and the Caribbean reached 660.3 million inhabitants last year. Colombia, with about 51.9 million, is the third most populous country in the region, after Brazil (215.3 million) and Mexico (127.5 million).

According to ECLAC statistics, Colombia is the fourth country with the highest percentage of its population living in extreme poverty in Latin America (15 percent), surpassed only by Honduras (20 percent), Nicaragua (18.3 percent) and Guatemala (15.4 percent). In poverty it ranks fifth in the region, with 35.4 percent.

ECLAC highlights in its report that last year was particularly complex in terms of inflationdriven not only by factors specific to each country, but also by an international situation that did little to favor the economies of the region, especially in the matter of imports of raw materials, although this did not affect foreign direct investment, which grew on average 14 percent per year.

In general terms, the variation of the Consumer Price Index in the region reached 15.4 percent in 2022, exceeding the 2021 CPI by three percentage points. Only the dynamics of the food prices it was an average of 13.2 percent, close to five percentage points more than in 2021.

In the basic basket, the agency highlights the 45.9 percent rise in the prices of energy products, 36.8 percent in fertilizers and 19.5 percent for food and beverages.

In colombia, the appearance of one of the most marked jumps in recent years7.5 percentage points, which led it to levels of 13.12 percent at the end of 2022, according to Dane.

work and education

Another of the aspects highlighted by the Commission in its most recent report has to do with the impact of the pandemic on employment in the region, which, it points out, was maintained despite the slight improvement in labor indicators.

«The rate of participation of the population in economic activity for Latin America and the Caribbean rose to 61.4 percent compared to the minimum of 57.8 percent reached in 2020,» it indicates in its report, at the same time that Highlight that stands out a drop in the open unemployment ratewhich went from 10.5 percent in 2020 to 9.3 percent in 2021, although the improvements registered in 2021 were not enough to reach pre-pandemic values ​​on those fronts.

In the particular case of Colombia, the unemployment rate in that year was the fifth highest (13.4 percent) among a group of 25 countries in the region, 4.1 percentage points above the average. The occupancy rate, in turn, stood at 52.5 percent and that of the population’s participation in the economy, at 60.6 percent, both below the regional average.

The report highlights that Colombia has one of the lowest participation rates for women in Parliament, with 18.6 percent, compared to more than 53 percent in Cuba, the 50.6 percent that Nicaragua or 50 from Mexico.

In terms of access to education at different levels, Colombia’s progress stands out compared to most countries in the region. For example, In pre-primary and primary education, the country not only exceeds the regional averages (75.6 and 96.4 percent, respectively), but also to other comparable nations. The percentage of enrollments in these levels are 85.9 and 98.9 percent.

For its part, in lower and upper secondary the country has an enrollment percentage of 99.1 and 83.1 percent, respectively, compared to the regional averages of 93.7 and 79.1 percent. At the tertiary level, Colombia is at the Latin American average of 54 percent.

(Also read: Dane revealed that the unemployment rate for 2022 was 11.2%)

Exports and investments

But, just as the country stands out in some social aspects, it is not doing so well in macroeconomic terms, according to figures provided by ECLAC, which in its 2022 yearbook indicates that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is not it is among the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean, of which 44 countries are part.

According to figures collected by the Commission, the country’s per capita GDP in 2021 was 6,093.6 dollars, which, although it is close to the 7,808.1 average for the region, is 4.5 times less than that of Bahamas or 2.8 than that of Uruguay.

Regarding foreign trade, Colombia ranked sixth among the countries in the region that sell the most to the world, with about 29,300 million dollars. Well below Brazil (201,256 million), Mexico (112,398 million), Chile (82,906 million) and Peru (43,402 million).

Another of the fronts in which the country does not stand out is the possibility of attracting foreign capital, since the growth rate of foreign investment barely increased 13.4 percentclose to the region’s average of 14.7 percent, but much less than Peru, which did so at 289 percent, Argentina (58 percent) or Chile (37.1 percent).

Colombia, with high child vaccination coverage

One of the issues addressed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal) in its Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean 2022 has to do with the health of the inhabitants of this part of the world.

In his report, he warns that for the 44 countries in the region that are taken into account in their statistics average mortality rates in children under 5 years of age and infantile are 15.6 and 13.1 percent, respectively, for every 1,000 live births.

On this front, Colombia, although it is below these averages, is not among the nations with the lowest indicators, since it has mortality rates of 12.9 and 10.9 percent, respectively, well above the rates of Chile, which has 5.8 and 4.9 percent or Uruguay’s 6.9 and 5.8 percent.

(Also read: ILO recommends that Colombia set a daily limit on working hours)

The resulting data now that the country is in a process of reform to your health systemfor which the Government has already presented a project to discuss in the Congress of the Republic.

Regarding the protection of its child population, through the different vaccination programs, ECLAC statistics place Colombia among the countries with high coverage on this front, since the percentage of one-year-old children vaccinated against measles in in 2021 it reached 86 percent of that population, close to 3 percentage points more than the average for the region.

Although the statistics provided by ECLAC regarding malnutrition in this segment of the population are not so recent, they date from 2020, the report indicates that low weight covers only 1.6 percent of thiswhile the rate of this population (under five years) with overweight is 5.7 percent.

Not all of the 44 countries in the region are part of this measurement, but the average rate in these two aspects measured by the Commission in terms of health is 1.3 and 7.5 percent.

Finally, citing statistics from 2019, the report average spending on health, as a proportion of each country’s gross domestic product, was on average 6.8 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cuba, with a rate of 11.3 percent, ranked first on this front, says ECLAC, followed by Uruguay (9.4 percent), Suriname (9.7 percent), Brazil (9.6 percent, percent) percent) and Chile (9.3 percent).

Colombia, for its part, for the same year, had an assigned health expenditure of 7.7 percent of GDPwhich, although it is slightly above average, is several points below the countries that spend the most on it.