Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2009-2010

The Distributive Impact of Public Policies

image of Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2009-2010

In 2009, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the brunt of the global financial crisis on their levels of activity. However, since the second half of the that year, most countries in the region just begun a vigorous recovery that should strengthen with a regional GDP expansion of approximately 5.2 per cent. The factors behind a more positive performance are both external and internal in nature. Amongst the former can be included the continued dynamism of some key Asian economies, whose sustained demand for products from this region has created important conditions for a recovery in exports, especially in the case of South America.




The earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 has had far-reaching repercussions on economic and social conditions in the country and on its growth prospects for the future. GDP is expected to contract by 8.5% in 2010. The earthquake left more than 220,000 persons dead and approximately 300,000 injured, while 1.3 million have sought refuge in temporary shelters; in addition, more than half a million people fled the worst affected areas. Some 105,000 dwellings were totally destroyed, as were 1,300 educational establishments and more than 50 hospitals. A substantial number of public and community buildings were destroyed or shut down, including the national palace, ministries, decentralized agencies, the port and the airport. According to the post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA), damage and losses totalled US$ 7.8 billion, 20% above the GDP figure for 2009, with sizeable losses in both the private sector (70% of the total, mostly in housing, which sustained 40% of total damage) and the public sector.


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