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Latin America and the Caribbean

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.

Learn more

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.

Asset Publisher

Regional Director

Rossana Polastri Director, Latin America and the Caribbean Division

Latin America and the Caribbean knowledge platform

Latin America and the Caribbean knowledge platform

Latin America and the Caribbean knowledge platform

A space for sharing lessons learned and good practices, which are essential elements for the sustainable development of rural territories.

Where we work

Projects and programmes

Projects and programmes

Mexico

Social Economy: Territory and Inclusion Project

Ecuador

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

Argentina

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

Related news

Related news

IFAD-funded project to protect the environment in Haiti by improving smallholder farmers' and artisanal fishermen's livelihoods

April 2022 - NEWS
IFAD and the Government of Haiti signed a financing agreement today for the implementation of the Inclusive Blue Economy Project (I-BE). The project will help preserve the Three Bay Protected Area by providing economic opportunities to smallholder famers and artisanal fishermen living in the country’s north-eastern region.

IFAD-funded project to increase coffee and cocoa production in eastern Cuba while building resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change

March 2022 - NEWS
IFAD and the Government of Cuba hosted an event today at the Hotel Nacional in Havana to launch the Agroforestry Cooperative Development Project (PRODECAFE). The project aims at increasing coffee and cocoa production in the eastern region of the country, while contributing to enhanced resilience of this region’s smallholder farmer cooperatives to climate change.

IFAD-funded project to develop technological solutions to help smallholder farmers overcome COVID-19 impact in Latin America and the Caribbean

February 2022 - NEWS
IFAD launched the Innovatech project today, which aims to develop agricultural (AgriTech) and financial (FinTech) digital solutions to facilitate small famers’ access to markets and to financial and non-financial services in Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico.

Related blogs

Related blogs

Gender-focused solutions for the post-COVID return to rural areas

September 2021 - BLOG
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to waves of internal migration as urban workers return to rural areas. IFAD must identify solutions to the challenges this phenomenon has created, and will continue to create, for rural agricultural development. This is especially critical from a gender equity perspective.

Building up family farmers’ resilience through nature-based solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean

June 2020 - BLOG
Resilience has become the talk of the town in the development community.

Recovery, reactivation and resilience: Confronting COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

April 2020 - BLOG
With half of the planet’s population locked down, the global economy brought to a halt and the number of cases reaching into the millions, it is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest crisis of our time.

Related publications

Related publications

Latin America and the Caribbean knowledge platform

December 2021
A space for sharing lessons learned and good practices, which are essential elements for the sustainable development of rural territories.

Regional overview of food security and nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean 2021

November 2021
The Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean 2021 gathers the latest data on the food security and nutrition situation in Latin America and the Caribbean region, showing a worrisome landscape.

Panorama of Food and Nutritional Security in Latin America and the Caribbean 2020

December 2020
This report examines the impact of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on the analysis of territorial inequalities and calls on countries to focus their investments and policies on lagging territories.
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