Monday, October 20, 2008


Whatever else might not have been achieved in terms of development and social progress in Guatemala over the past decade or so, it's clear that the lower middle-classes have taken significant steps to both globalise and consumerise themselves - thanks perhaps to proceeds from the informal economy and remittances from abroad most households in this bracket now boast TVs, fridges, DVD players and several mobile phones. 

The on-going fate of remesas - remittances from Chapines living in the US - over the next few months could be critical to the Guatemalan economy. Across Latin America they have annually totalled around $50bn, with nearly half going to Mexico alone.

Down here they represent a full 10% of GDP and have continued to rise recently in spite of what must already be hard times in critical industries up north such as construction.

It has been suggested however, that although the quantity of Dollars that arrive in the form of remittances exceeds the total of foreign investment in Guatemala, each percentage point of GDP they represent only contributes to a half point drop in the overall levels of poverty.

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