Monday, April 25, 2011

Things that grow in Peru: GDP, exports and anaemia in children

Read in the context of the recent round one election results in Peru, this report out of CNR Peru today (and translated by your humble scribe) makes for interesting reading:
"The other side of growth" in Ica: Agro-export city versus a population with increasing cases of anaemia and TB
Ica, 25/04/2011 (CNR): The model region of Ica, with the highest accumulated GDP growth in all Peru over the last five years, has achieved its significant GDP growth by having a strong presence in the export market thanks to its good quality soils and hours of sunshine which achieves good production levels for its main activity, that of agriculture. Asparagus, grapes, artichokes, onions, mandarins and avocados amongst others make up the main regional agro-export products.

Recently, Finance Minister Ismael Benavides said, "Peru is aligning as an export economy of value-added products, to position itself as an important supplier of food to the world and of quality manufactured products that use natural resources in a sustainable way", adding that, "Ica exported more than U$3.208m (last year),, a growth rate of 118% compared to 2006, and its products are now sold in 80 world destinations."

However, this apparent economic growth is not reflected in the quality of life of the region's population. According to data provided by the Ica Regional Health Authority, Ica has the third largest number of cases in Peru of tuberculosis and has seen an increase in the number of cases in children under five years old, from 44.9% in 2009 to 53.8% in 2010, according to ENDES.

Added to these official data are other indications that generate a poor quality of life, such as the numbers of abandoned children and numbers of children of working mothers. Above all, a latent risk for regional development and economic growth and sustainability for the lifestyle of Ica residents is the scarcity of water.

Because of this, with the objective of generating discourse between the population and regional authorities about the real development situation and how much economic growth is adding to life quality for the population, regional watchdog Codehica is celebrating its 29th anniversary with a national and international campaign, "The other side of economic growth, a view from agro exports".

IKN apologizes to all those who think economic growth automatically benefits emerging market populations. Normal blinkered neoliberal philosophy will resume as soon as possible. ¡Viva Investment Grade!