El comercio internacional puede reducir la pobreza

WASHINGTON, DC – Un viejo principio de la teoría del comercio internacional sostiene que, a largo plazo, existe una correlación entre el intercambio comercial y el crecimiento del PIB. Pero aun así, subsiste el desafío de asegurar que el crecimiento derivado del comercio beneficie a los pobres; un desafío que la institución a la que pertenezco (el Banco Mundial) trabaja por resolver. Por eso los directores de siete instituciones multilaterales, entre ellas el Banco Mundial, apoyaron firmemente la búsqueda del acuerdo de facilitación del comercio alcanzado a inicios de este mes en la conferencia ministerial de la Organización Mundial del Comercio en Bali.

Es cierto que la incidencia mundial de la pobreza llegó a un mínimo histórico y que en 2010 el índice de pobreza extrema (la proporción de la población que vive con menos de 1,25 dólares al día, en paridad de poder adquisitivo) se redujo a menos de la mitad de lo que era en 1990. Pero todavía quedan más de mil millones de personas en todo el mundo que viven en la extrema pobreza. Además, el progreso en la materia fue desparejo, ya que los índices de pobreza se redujeron mucho más en el este de Asia y en América Latina que en el África subsahariana.

Con el objetivo de hacer frente a este cambiante contexto internacional, el Banco Mundial decidió introducir un nuevo criterio para medir el éxito de sus iniciativas de reducción de la pobreza: hacer un seguimiento del crecimiento de los ingresos del 40% más pobre de la población de cada país, para así fomentar un aumento de la prosperidad compartido y sostenible. De hecho, el Banco Mundial está reconsiderando su definición de lo que es el éxito en el ámbito del desarrollo y la forma en que ofrece apoyo en cuestiones de comercio a los países en desarrollo.

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