Uruguay has begun to revolutionize the way that the small South American country uses its energy resources, and is demonstrating to the rest of the world their increasing focus on using “green” energy. Since 2008, wind farms have sprung up all over the country, and these wind farms have helped the country to become nearly energy self-sufficient, no longer relying on the oil reserves of neighboring and overseas nations.
Economy and Development
In a recent column, the editor of The Miami Herald, Andrés Oppenheimer, called attention to the increase in the number of Latin American billionaires, based on the 87-page report published by the firm Wealth-X.1 According to the Singapore-based company that sells wealth data to luxury brands, the percentage of Latin American billionaires grew faster than in any other world region in the last year. “I was skeptical: It’s hard to believe that the number of mega-rich is soaring at a time when the region’s economy is hurting,” said Oppenheimer.
Ecuador adopted the U.S. Dollar as its official currency in 2000, replacing the rapidly depreciating Sucre. Now, in 2014, the South American country is initiating a movement toward an entirely digital currency, which will be accessed through users’ phones and can be used in all transactions and bank operations.3
Ever since May 1st, 2006, Bolivia has been profiting from the nationalization of the gas industry. Before 2006, the gas industry was controlled by the private companies drilling in Bolivia, and they were receiving 71% of the profit which amounted to USD 832 million.
The economic relations between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) strengthened significantly as the two actors recently established a bilateral forum. This move will have substantial implications for development in Latin America as China has already promised USD 10 billion in credit to CELAC members and a USD 5 billion fund for Chinese-Latin American investments.1
On September 26th, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed into law a new environmental tax on carbon emissions, making Chile the first South American country to enact such legislation. The tax is targeting the country’s power sector, which is dominated by nearly 80 percent by fossil fuels.1 It is aimed at thermal plants with installed capacities of 50 megawatts or more. Plants of this size will be charged USD $5 per ton of CO2 released, exempting smaller plants and those fueled by biomass.1