“A country that has grown like Brazil can’t be content with just having a big social program like Bolsa Familia,” Social Development Minister Tereza Campello said upon the launch of the new program last month.
That sentiment reflects rhetoric across the region. Over the past decade, the poor have been buoyed across Latin America, as nations have enjoyed sustained GDP growth and created targeted social programs like conditional cash transfers. But now goals have been set beyond poverty reduction. In the world’s most unequal region, presidents from Sebastian Piñera in Chile to Felipe Calderon in Mexico are pledging to eradicate extreme poverty altogether.
“There is a sense that with Latin America growing at very high growth rates in the last decade or so, this is an opportunity to have a new social contract with people in the region,” says Norbert Schady, senior economic adviser for social sectors at the Inter-American Development Bank.