Colombia would be one of the countries in the region where poverty would grow the most due to the effects of the war in Ukraine and its consequences, such as rising energy and food prices. This was stated by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in the presentation of a new report in which they outline the consequences of the armed conflict for the region, among which are the economic slowdown and greater inflationary pressures.
(For every 100 men in poverty, there are 117 women in this condition).
“The impact of rising prices and falling growth on poverty will be different from one country to another,” says the document, in which for Colombia poverty is expected to increase by 1.7 percentage points as forecast in the base scenario, thus reaching 38%, passing the record of 36.3% in 2021.
This record would be above the 33% projected for the region. It is worth noting that this baseline scenario contemplates real GDP growth projections in 2022 and considers inflation expectations in the first quarter of this current year.
(Slowdown and inflation, blows to Latin America from war in Ukraine).
Now, for ECLAC, in the event that inflation exceeds the baseline scenario by 2 percentage points, poverty would increase by 2.9 percentage points in Colombia, being the highest growth among Mexico, Paraguay and Brazil, the other territories with this trend.
Thus, poverty would rise to 39.2% in Colombia, well above the 33.7% that the region could have, which could also see a rise in extreme poverty to 14.9% this year, that is that is, an increase of 1.6 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points compared to the value of 2021.
This 1.1 point increase in extreme poverty would mean that 7.8 million people “would be added to the 86.4 million whose food security is already at risk.”
“A rise in inflation, and in particular in food prices, will affect the consumption possibilities of a large part of the regional population, especially in the lower income segments, which may contribute to an increase in the levels of unrest and sociopolitical conflict,” the document warned.
Although the UN economic body emphasized that the region will show different effects of the war, there will be a series of situations that will affect everyone in general.
The first of these consequences is the slowdown in the general economy. The agency cut the growth forecast for the region to 1.8% as a result of the war. This phenomenon, says ECLAC, will accentuate the trend of low growth in the region.
ROBERTO CASAS LUGO