THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2020

Creating the Pathways from Poverty to Prosperity

Latin America and the Caribbean: Fluctuating growth

Prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean is higher than it was in 2010, though the rate of improvement has fluctuated over the past decade.

Reasons for the changes in Latin America and the Caribbean’s prosperity are as follows.​

Improvements
  • Every country in the Latin America and the Caribbean region has seen an expansion in its communications infrastructure, which, as in Eastern Europe, has driven the improvement in market access and infrastructure. This has been exemplified by Trinidad and Tobago (37th), which saw a 36-rank improvement in the element, largely due to the rapid expansion of 4G capabilities.
  • The investment environments of all but four countries in the region have improved. Paraguay (85th) has seen the biggest improvement since 2010, as property rights are deemed to be betterprotected, and only 8% of firms now consider access to finance as a major obstacle (down from 20% in 2010).
  • Across the region, 21 of 25 countries have seen an improvement in education over the past decade. Tertiary education has seen impressive and widespread improvement, with tertiary education enrolment rates in the region at over 50%, up from 40% in 2010, and Chile (18th) now has one of the best tertiary education systems in the world.
Deteriorations
  • The economic destabilisation in Venezuela (163rd), Brazil (89th), and Suriname (94th) has led to an overall deterioration across the region in Economic Quality since 2010. Some countries in the region, however, have bucked this trend, such as Jamaica (104th) which now has a balanced general government budget on the back of a successful recovery from double-digit deficits in 2009.
  • Governance has weakened in more than half of the region’s countries. The ongoing political situation in Venezuela (167th) has resulted in deterioration in each element of the pillar, but particularly government integrity, while an erosion of the rule of law in Mexico (159th) and decreased political accountability in Nicaragua (114th) have driven the decline in those countries.