Preparar el terreno para el crecimiento

Los extremadamente pobres de las comunidades rurales de América Latina viven por término medio a cinco kilómetros o más de distancia de la carretera pavimentada más cercana, casi el doble de lejos que los hogares no pobres, a consecuencia de lo cual el acceso a los mercados y los servicios necesarios les resultan difíciles y muy costosos. Además, las deficiencias en materia de transporte socavan la competitividad internacional de América Latina. Más de la mitad de las empresas latinoamericanas consideran que las deficiencias en materia de infraestructuras constituyen un obstáculo importante para el funcionamiento y el crecimiento de sus negocios.

Una opción resulta evidente: gastar más (y más sensatamente) en infraestructuras. Los países de América Latina y el Caribe gastan, por término medio, menos del dos por ciento de su PIB en infraestructuras, mientras que para sostener un crecimiento rápido y mantener el mismo ritmo que países como China o Corea, se necesita entre el tres y el seis por ciento.

Dada la escasez de fondos públicos y las limitaciones fiscales, para aumentar el gasto los usuarios deben sufragar una proporción mayor de los costos, lo que requiere una concienciación sobre la necesidad de acostumbramiento a esa clase de pagos, además de la creación de una red de protección social para los ciudadanos que no puedan pagarlos.

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