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World Bank report calls for breaking cycle of poverty in the Caribbean

Published:Thursday | March 12, 2015 | 3:00 AM
Jorge Familiar

A new report by the World Bank is calling on Caribbean countries to rethink their policies in order to break the cycle of chronic poverty in the region.

The report, titled Left Behind, Chronic Poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean, takes a closer look at the region's entrenched poor, who and where they are, and how policies and thinking will need to change in order to more effectively assist them.

The report says that one out of every five people in Latin America and the Caribbean, or around 130 million, have never known anything but poverty, subsisting on less than US$4 daily throughout their lives.

"These are the region's chronically poor, who have remained so despite unprecedented inroads against poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean since the turn of the century. Their situation is becoming more precarious as the economic boom that significantly contributed to reduce poverty dwindles."

The report states that regional gross domestic product (GDP) growth has slowed, from about six per cent in 2010 to an estimated 0.8 per cent last year.

"This contraction will likely take away one of the biggest drivers behind the strong reduction in poverty: an improved job market," the report noted.

World Bank vice-president for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Familiar, said poverty exists and persists because of constraints within and without the households, "everything from lack of appropriate skills and motivation to the lack of basic services such as clean water."