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Mexican anti-poverty program copied around the world

3 November 2009 No Comment

Mexico: role model in anti-poverty initiatives

More than 25 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America are currently using “Oportunidades”, the anti-poverty program created in Mexico, as a role model to tackle this worldwide problem. In these countries, the World Bank is supporting local governments with financial resources and strategies that are being designed based on the Mexican model.

Axel von Trotsenburg, World Bank Director for Mexico and Colombia, said that thanks to this innovative program, Mexico has become a leader at designing and adopting concrete measures aimed at fighting poverty, particularly since the program is been imitated also in the USA.

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, visited Mexico a couple of years ago to learn more about this program and to take a closer look at the Mexican experience and results. The program is currently running in the area of Brooklyn under the name “Opportunity NYC”. It is financed by private foundations and donations, because the World Bank does not offer financial aid to wealthy nations (this is why the U.S.A. does not appear in the World Bank map that accompanies this article).

According to Salvador Escobedo Zoletto, national coordinator of “Oportunidades”, senior officials from South Africa, Iran, Egypt, China, Angola, Mauritania, UK, Honduras, Nicaragua and Argentina have also visited Mexico with the purpose of launching programs inspired by the same model.

This type of program, created in Mexico in 1997, is known internationally as “Conditional Cash Transfers” (CCT).

In Mexico, the “Oportunidades” (Opportunities) Program is currently helping more than 5 million families, and in Brazil, where the initiative was adopted under the name “Bolsa Familia”, more than 11 million families have benefited from it.

Other countries that have incorporated this model following the Mexican example include Turkey, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Peru, Cambodia, Kenya, and Paraguay, among others.

More information about the impact that Conditional Cash Transfers have on reducing world poverty is available from the World Bank by clicking here.

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