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Overview

Economic transformation has made great strides in Latin America and the Caribbean, yet wide inequalities persist. Home to 595 million people, this region offers valuable lessons, but there is still much work to do.

Most impressive is that all countries in the region, except for Haiti, are now considered middle-income. However, one person in four still lives in poverty, and the poor tend to be concentrated in rural areas. Eighty per cent of the region’s population is urban.

Among the poorest and most marginalized are women, indigenous peoples, and those of African descent. Some 15 million people live by farming a huge variety of crops; others inhabit expansive forests. However, traditional agricultural techniques are evolving in the face of economic and climate change.

Transforming rural communities

IFAD has been active in this remarkably diverse region, where we pioneered community-centric development, for four decades. By encouraging local people to identify projects that could enhance their prosperity, and then providing training and financial assistance to carry out those projects, we have helped to transform communities and demonstrate the benefits of bottom-up development strategies.

Working together, with and for the poor

IFAD partners with governments, NGOs and communities to draw up pro-poor policies that benefit rural areas, and to implement them in the most effective ways.

By the end of 2016, IFAD was working with 19 governments to deliver 37 ongoing programmes across the region, with a total investment of US$770 million.*

Our breadth of expertise and geographical reach enables us to promote knowledge-sharing between projects and regions. Partnerships are fundamental to our efforts to further expand policies that level the playing field for small farmers through policy dialogue and South-South cooperation.

Examples of our work include helping:

  • young people become entrepreneurs;
  • farmers understand and access markets; and
  • indigenous peoples manage irrigation systems more effectively.

Everywhere we work, we bring appropriate solutions that raise rural incomes and help people respond to climate change.

* This amount includes the contributions of the Spanish Trust Fund, managed by IFAD.

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Some of the most marginalized population groups can be found among the region’s 125 million rural people.

Over a quarter of the region’s population continues to live in poverty. In recent years, the absolute number of people living in poverty has increased.

Rural areas continue to experience inequality. In Bolivia, for example, poverty declined nationwide from 61 per cent in 2005 to 39 per cent in 2013. However, in rural areas, 60 per cent of the population lives in poverty and 39 per cent in extreme poverty.


Spotlight

Overcoming inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean

Over the last three decades, the countries of Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) experienced a profound transformation which extended to rural areas.This economic and rural transformation resulted in many benefits, especially between 2004-2013, when millions of people left poverty behind

Projects and programmes

Mexico

Social Economy: Territory and Inclusion Project
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Ecuador

Strengthening the Rural Actors of the Popular and Solidarity Economy Project (FAREPS)
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Argentina

Programme for Economic Insertion of Family Producers of Northern Argentina (PROCANOR)
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