Weak investment, low productivity and inadequate education have condemned Latin America to a period of economic failure even worse than the “lost decade” of the 1980s, according to the top UN economic official in the region.
José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, new head of the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said the stagnation of the past decade contrasted not only with the 5.9 per cent annual growth of the 1970s but also the 2 per cent achieved in the 1980s, a turbulent decade for Latin America characterised by a wave of debt crises.
“This is terrible, this really ought to be a huge red light,” he said of the descent into stagnation, with average annual economic growth in the decade to 2023 set to be just 0.8 per cent. “The challenge is how to return to this line of 5.9 per cent a year,” he said.
Salazar-Xirinachs, speaking to the Financial Times from ECLAC’s base in Chile, also…