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Archive for the ‘Latin America and the Caribbean’ Category

Increased Use of Digital Technologies Could Add $1.36 Trillion to World’s Top 10 Economies in 2020, According to New Study from Accenture

April 13, 2015 Comments off

Increased Use of Digital Technologies Could Add $1.36 Trillion to World’s Top 10 Economies in 2020, According to New Study from Accenture
Source: Accenture

The increased use of digital technologies could boost productivity for the world’s top 10 economies and add US$1.36 trillion to their total economic output in 2020, according to a new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN). The study is based on the Accenture Digital Density Index, a tool that helps companies make better strategic investments based on granular measures of digital performance.

The Accenture Digital Density Index measures the extent to which digital technologies penetrate a country’s businesses and economy. A country’s “digital density” is determined by a scorecard comprising over 50 indicators, such as the volume of transactions conducted online, the use of cloud or other technologies to streamline processes, the pervasiveness of technology skills in a company, or an economy’s acceptance of new digitally driven business models.

At its broadest level, the Index reveals that a ten point improvement in digital density (on a 100-point scale) over five years would lift GDP growth rates in advanced economies by 0.25 percentage points, and by 0.5 percentage point in emerging economies. That would give the U.S. an uplift to GDP of US$365 billion in 2020. Emerging economies, such as Brazil, India and China could see rises of between $97 billion and $418 billion.

Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Unaccompanied Child Migration to the United States: The Tension between Protection and Prevention
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Between 2011 and 2014, the number of Central American children and “family units”—parents traveling with minor children—who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border increased rapidly, reaching a peak of 137,000 in fiscal year 2014. While many of these migrants have valid claims for asylum or other forms of humanitarian relief, others are chiefly driven by economic concerns and a desire to reconnect with family members. This mixed flow has challenged the capacity of the United States to carry out its core immigration functions of preventing the admission of unauthorized immigrants while also providing protection to those who cannot be safely returned to their home countries.

Media coverage of Central American arrivals in 2014 portrayed their entry as a failure of border security, but the actual policy failures were in the processing and adjudication of claims for relief from migrants presenting in a mixed migration flow of humanitarian and irregular migrants. Inadequate judicial and legal resources left some migrants waiting two years or more for a hearing before an immigration judge. Such delays amounted to a de facto policy of open admission for children and families. Furthermore, the Obama administration’s responses to the rising Central American flows, including greater law enforcement resources at the border, expanded detention facilities, and the establishment of dedication child and family immigration court dockets, focused exclusively on immediate needs rather than longer-term solutions and they failed either to adequately protect vulnerable immigrants or to prevent future unauthorized flows.

This report explains the shifting patterns of Central American migration between 2011 and 2014, analyzes the root of the policy challenges posed by these flows, and outlines U.S. and regional policy responses to address the crisis. It also makes recommendations on policies that advance both critical protection and enforcement goals in situations of complex, mixed flows, and provides additional policies that the United States, Mexico, and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras might adopt to better manage child and family migration pressures today and in the future.

CRS — Seventh Summit of the Americas: In Brief (March 24, 2015)

April 6, 2015 Comments off

Seventh Summit of the Americas: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On April 10-11, 2015, President Obama is scheduled to attend the seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama. The Summits of the Americas, which have been held roughly every three years since 1994, serve as opportunities for the Western Hemisphere’s leaders to engage directly with one another and discuss issues of collective concern. With Cuba expected to attend for the first time in 2015, the Summit of the Americas will be the only forum in the hemisphere that includes all 35 independent nations. The theme of the 2015 summit is “Prosperity with Equity: The Challenge of Cooperation in the Americas.” Although strengthening economic growth while reducing inequality will be one of the principal topics of conversation, the leaders of the hemisphere are also expected to discuss a variety of other issues, including education, health, energy, the environment, migration, security, citizen participation, and democratic governance.

USGS — Recent Trends in Cuba’s Mining and Petroleum Industries

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Recent Trends in Cuba’s Mining and Petroleum Industries
Source: USGS
From press release:

Cuba is among the top 10 producers of cobalt and nickel and has significant other mineral and petroleum resources, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey publication.

The report and accompanying map highlight the mineral resources available in Cuba, as well as detailing locations of petroleum exploration and development. The map also identifies mines, mineral processing facilities and petroleum facilities as well as information on location, operational status and ownership. It also addresses the current status of mineral industry projects, historical developments and trends of the Cuban economy with an emphasis on mineral industries and the supply of and demand for Cuba’s mineral resources.

Association between breastfeeding and intelligence, educational attainment, and income at 30 years of age: a prospective birth cohort study from Brazil

March 22, 2015 Comments off

Association between breastfeeding and intelligence, educational attainment, and income at 30 years of age: a prospective birth cohort study from Brazil (PDF)
Source: The Lancet

Background
Breastfeeding has clear short-term benefi ts, but its long-term consequences on human capital are yet to be established. We aimed to assess whether breastfeeding duration was associated with intelligence quotient (IQ), years of schooling, and income at the age of 30 years, in a setting where no strong social patterning of breastfeeding exists.

Methods
A prospective, population-based birth cohort study of neonates was launched in 1982 in Pelotas, Brazil. Information about breastfeeding was recorded in early childhood. At 30 years of age, we studied the IQ (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, 3rd version), educational attainment, and income of the participants. For the analyses, we used multiple linear regression with adjustment for ten confounding variables and the G-formula.

Findings
From June 4, 2012, to Feb 28, 2013, of the 5914 neonates enrolled, information about IQ and breastfeeding duration was available for 3493 participants. In the crude and adjusted analyses, the durations of total breastfeeding and predominant breastfeeding (breastfeeding as the main form of nutrition with some other foods) were positively associated with IQ, educational attainment, and income. We identified dose-response associations with breastfeeding duration for IQ and educational attainment. In the confounder-adjusted analysis, participants who were breastfed for 12 months or more had higher IQ scores (diff erence of 3·76 points, 95% CI 2·20–5·33), more years of education (0·91 years, 0·42–1·40), and higher monthly incomes (341·0 Brazilian reals, 93·8–588·3) than did those who were breastfed for less than 1 month. The results of our mediation analysis suggested that IQ was responsible for 72% of the effect on income.

Interpretation
Breastfeeding is associated with improved performance in intelligence tests 30 years later, and might have an important eff ect in real life, by increasing educational attainment and income in adulthood.

Funding
Wellcome Trust, International Development Research Center (Canada), CNPq, FAPERGS, and the Brazilian Ministry of Health

Country Analysis Brief: Ecuador

March 19, 2015 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Ecuador
Source: Energy Information Administration

In Ecuador, the oil sector accounts for more than half of the country’s export earnings and approximately two-fifths of public sector revenues.1 Resource nationalism and debates about the economic, strategic, and environmental implications of oil sector development are prominent issues in the politics of Ecuador and the policies of its government. Ecuador is the smallest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and it produced 556,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of petroleum and other liquids in 2014, of which crude oil production was 555,000 bbl/d. A lack of sufficient domestic refining capacity to meet local demand has forced Ecuador to import refined products, limiting net oil revenue.

Building Skills in North and Central America: Barriers and Policy Options toward Harmonizing Qualifications in Nursing

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Building Skills in North and Central America: Barriers and Policy Options toward Harmonizing Qualifications in Nursing
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Amid aging populations and the growth of chronic diseases, the demand for skilled health-care professionals is on the rise in the three countries of North America. In the United States alone, an estimated 5.6 million vacancies for health-care professionals at all skill levels will open up between 2010 and 2020, and the numbers in Canada and Mexico tell a similar story. At the same time, the countries of Central America, particularly El Salvador and Guatemala, are facing a critical nurse shortage.

Thus far, regional approaches to increasing the supply of qualified nurses have been rare. One promising yet underexplored avenue is the harmonization of nurse qualifications across the region, a process by which countries that face similar health-care challenges work together to develop an understanding of one another’s training and education systems, identify gaps between these systems, and create strategies to bridge these gaps over time.

This report explores the policy implications, benefits, and challenges of harmonizing nursing qualifications in North America. The payoffs of such cooperation are substantial: it can decrease brain waste and deskilling among nurses, increase the quality of care in all countries involved, and expand opportunities for nurses to practice where their skills are needed and to take advantage of new job opportunities in medical tourism and tele-health. However, as the report discusses, policymakers and private-sector actors must first overcome a range of obstacles to harmonization. Challenges include differences among the countries involved in the educational requirements of entering into nursing programs, dispersal of decision-making power among a patchwork of institutions regulating the nursing profession, and administrative barriers to recognition of qualifications—the flurry of red tape that nurses must pass through to take up nursing again after moving across borders.

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