CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — As Argentina develops, the poverty rate is existing and rising. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the economy has struggled and the poverty rate has worsened. Economists have sadly wondered what happened to the once economically prosperous country, which dwindled from being known as one of the “10 richest countries in the world.” Fortunately, the World Bank Board of Directors has granted a $200 million loan to the country in order to increase sustainable growth which could in turn combat poverty in Argentina and hopefully positively affect the country.
Unemployment and Rage
Unfortunately, the events that the Coronavirus brought about affected Argentina in a longer run than expected. Even now, researchers have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic worsened Argentina’s long-standing economic crisis, affecting poverty in Argentina.
The Borgen Project spoke with Dr. Matthew Manierre, a professor of sociology at Clarkson University. As Dr. Manierre states, “During economic recessions, people aren’t able to find the work that they previously had.” Small businesses that produce for the domestic market felt a significant impact as activity ceased and businesses closed across the country for months beginning in March 2022, pushing unemployment up to 13.1% in the second quarter. “Nearly half of Argentina’s population was living in poverty in the second quarter, a sharp increase from last year,” NBC reports.
The surge in poverty, which was higher than the 40.8% poverty rate reported by UCA at the end of last year, was blamed on the loss of 3.5 million employment during the epidemic, most of which were informal. The poverty threshold is set at $193 (14,718 pesos) per month, according to NBC.
How the Modernity of Technology Will Combat Poverty
National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion will implement the World Bank project in Argentina. The aim is to strengthen the national innovation system and “promote growth and productivity in the private sector through the support of public-private partnerships,” according to the World Bank. The project also includes the “adoption of technology for small and medium-sized enterprises and support for entrepreneurs.”
This shows the role that technology has in combating poverty. The presence of technology in a more rural area with small and medium-sized enterprises could help entrepreneurs to boost adaptability for their businesses and improve efficiency for the businesses as well. This could be beneficial for families that would depend on these small enterprises as their source of income.
A different aim of the World Bank project is to create an economy where finance is a prominent aspect. World Bank hopes to attract private investments for creative startup companies. Promoting low-carbon technologies, circular economy projects and climate-smart developments will receive significant attention, the World Bank reports. In a modern world, where technology is taking over everyday life, this approach combating poverty to a technological is most likely to deem itself successful.
How Does Education Affect Poverty?
Education has been referred to as the “great equalizer,” as it can help people to obtain jobs to raise money for their families. The World Bank loan plans to assist young people in vulnerable circumstances in becoming entrepreneurs.
Education is an important aspect in this case. Luckily, Argentina wants to ensure that schools are more readily accessible to young people and are actively working to make this happen. To upgrade school facilities, the Chaco province of Argentina’s education department issued a 1.2 billion peso ($10 million) procurement. This is a step in the right direction because, in 2018, Argentina was lagging behind more progressive economies like Singapore or South Korea over the years due to a dearth of technical advancement and an ineffective educational system, among other things, according to World Education News + Reviews.
Issues like high dropout rates aren’t just due to socioeconomic factors like poverty; they’re also a result of low student motivation and structural issues with the educational system. The system’s decentralized and fragmented structure as well as the absence of a national secondary school exit test are some of the concerns that have been brought up, World Education News + Reviews reports.
Nevertheless, despite the size of the nation, there are still gaps in access, funding and quality of education. For instance, teachers continue to voice their displeasure over pay inequalities between provinces and Teachers Unions organized strikes and significant public gatherings in Argentina in 2017 and 2018, World Education News + Reviews reports.
The World Bank project will give special attention to women. This is beneficial because as the World Bank states, women “have more difficulties accessing financing. “As Manierre says, “women are more likely to be in poverty by a huge margin. This is a global thing. We see this all over the planet and we call it the feminization of poverty.” The acknowledgment of this fact will help women benefit from the World Bank project as much as men do.
Hope For a Better Future
On a more positive note, Argentina was once a prosperous country, and despite the fact that poverty is a widespread issue there, it has the potential to improve. According to World Bank, significant potential exists in various manufacturing subsectors in Argentina, as well as cutting-edge services in high-tech industries. Known as one of the largest economies in Latin America, Argentina keeps expanding, producing branches of affluence and a chance for hope.
– Frema Mensah