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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

Spotlight

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

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

FAO, FIDA y PMA crean alianza de cara a la Cumbre sobre los Sistemas Alimentarios de Naciones Unidas

May 2021 - NEWS
La FAO, el FIDA y el PMA realizarán tres diálogos en América Latina y el Caribe para buscar posturas comunes sobre desarrollo rural, agricultura resiliente al clima, alimentación escolar, comercio internacional, innovación y tecnología, y financiamiento al desarrollo.

New investment in digital solutions will connect Latin American farmers to markets and banking services in response to COVID-19 restrictions

March 2021 - NEWS
More than 10,000 family farmers in Latin America will soon have access to digital solutions to overcome the obstacles they face in accessing markets and financing due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

El FIDA lanza la Segunda Edición del Premio a la Innovación Juvenil Rural en América Latina y el Caribe

March 2021 - NEWS
El objetivo del concurso es identificar y premiar iniciativas innovadoras impulsadas por jóvenes que contribuyan a superar los desafíos de la pandemia de COVID-19 en las áreas rurales de la región.

Related blogs

Related blogs

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.

The challenges of conducting impact assessments of community driven development projects

July 2019 - BLOG
How can we measure the impact of project interventions on the people and communities participating?

Related publications

Related publications

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.
Additional languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Digital gender inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean

October 2020
The technological revolution has made it possible for digital connectivity to reach rural areas.

Impact Assessment: Gente de Valor – Rural Communities Development Project in the Poorest Areas of the State of Bahia

May 2020
The Rural Communities Development in the Poorest Areas of the State of Bahia (Project Gente de Valor) was designed to strengthen the capacity of rural communities to thrive in the drought-prone environment of Brazil's north-east region through improved access to water, increased productive capacity, and empowerment of participating communities.