Poverty in Guatemala increased from 51% to 54.1% -55%, according to the latest data published by the Central American Business Intelligence, CABI. CABI informed that poverty, infant and maternal mortality have increased in Guatemala due to the global economic crisis between 2009 and 2010. This has severely affected local efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In their study, CABI reported that the fall in economic growth in Guatemala caused the poverty level to rise from 51 percent to 54.1 percent and in some cases to 55 percent. Among the causes that increased poverty, the agency cited the loss of formal jobs, reduction in real wages (inflation) and bankruptcy of small businesses.
The agency stressed that the annual cost to address maternal and child mortality in Guatemala is not high, it takes only 0.25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). If the investment in health is reduced it will adversely affect progress recorded in the field. The decrease of remittances of 9.3% in 2009 (Bank of Guatemala) had a very negative impact in the fight against poverty in Guatemala, in addition, despite the boost from programs like Social Cohesion, which distributes 300 Quetzals, (approximately US $ 38.4 depending on the exchange rate) per family, poverty has risen since 2007.
Guatemala has improved access to primary education and quality of education; however, there are serious deficiencies in pre-primary and basic level. The lack of sustainability of the current government’s social programs is another very important consideration for the future of the fight against poverty.
Sources: CIMAC News, The Guatemala Times, Banco de Guatemala.