Completion of the Metrocable Medellin in Medellin, Colombia, more than a decade ago ushered in an alternative form of public transportation to densely populated, underserved, geographically isolated communities in Latin America. The Metrocable Medellin and its numerous predecessors are essentially gondolas that are typically associated with transportation from the bottom to top of the hill at ski resorts.
Bolivia is a landlocked country in Latin America, whose economic and cultural centers are located in remote, mountainous regions. This geography has posed challenges for economic exchanges for hundreds of years, and Bolivia is one of the poorest, least developed countries in South America. Bolivia’s stagnation in industrialization can in part be explained by the geography hypothesis delineated by Armendáriz and Larraín (2017), which postulates that forces of nature are a root cause of national poverty.
China’s involvement in Latin America has been rapidly increasing in the past two decades with Chinese companies investing over $110 billion since 2003, but primarily in the last five years. The nature of these investments has been changing as well.
The Amazonian and Andean regions of South America are home to some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Of the top ten ‘megadiverse’ countries in the world, six are in Central/South America. Four of these countries house part of the Andes, and five house part of the Amazon rainforest (Hyatt 2014).
In a communiqué dated December 16th, officials at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that cooperation on development projects and development assistance to Ecuador will end by September of 2014, which will result in the loss of about USD $32 million annually.
From April 1st-3rd, the World Economic Forum will host a conference focusing on economic issues in Latin America titled Opening Pathways for Shared Progress in Panama City, Panama. To be sure, Latin America offers vast potential for investment, growth, and progress.
Turmoil and conflict is nothing new to the countries in Latin America, and the last few months some of the most prosperous countries have been experiencing problems. Argentina’s currency took a nosedive, leaving the country in crisis. Brazil’s growth rate has slowed significantly and World Cup protests are growing by the day. And oil heavy Venezuela is experiencing massive protests over inflation and shortages.
The Communications and Transport Secretary in Mexico has proposed a regional rail project, the Tren Transpeninsular (TTP), to connect major beach resort areas and several major archeological sites in the Yucatan Peninsula. A GSPIA capstone class taught by Marcela González Rivas, Policy and Planning in Development Countries, is working with a local non-profit in Mexico, Foro para el Desarrollo Sustentable, who has been hired to conduct a preliminary assessment of the potential social impacts of the TTP.