Uruguay, the Switzerland of Latin America
The Latin American country is called the 'Switzerland of Latin America' thanks to its great economic and social development.
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Uruguay, a country located in South America, is considered by some investors as the 'Switzerland of Latin America' due to its size, diversified economy and the extensive development of its industrial sector, trade and services.
According to the United Nations, it is the Latin American country with the highest literacy level and the one with the lowest Corruption Perception Index, according to a study by Transparency International.
In addition, Uruguay has one of the highest GDP per capita in the region with $55.67 billion, according to a World Bank report in 2020, surpassing countries such as Panama with $52.94 billion.
"It has enjoyed solid political and social stability for years, backed by a consolidated democracy and solid legal security, which makes it attractive to investors," Mirabaud investor John Plassard told EuropaPress.
Plassard also highlighted that among the priorities of the Uruguayan government is the reduction of the budget deficit through an austerity program and rationalization of public spending to maintain the benefits for its most vulnerable sectors.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has stated that Uruguay is the third country in Latin America, after Chile and Argentina, with the highest Human Development Index (HDI), and is 54th in the world.
According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), it is one of the countries in the region with the most equitable income distribution, with a Gini Coefficient of 0.39.
Montevideo, the capital, is known for being a clean and modern city with a population of more than 700,000 inhabitants, and is ranked as the best place to live in Latin America by International Living magazine. It is also recognized as one of the most democratic places, according to The Economist, being the only place in the region on the list.
The report of the NGO Transparency International (TI) on perception of corruption placed Uruguay in 21st place worldwide with 71 points, making it the best in Latin America, followed by Chile in 25th place. In relation to other countries on the American continent, it ranks second behind Canada (77 points) and ahead of the United States (67 points).
The crisis side
Despite the development and perception of safety in the country, Uruguay has the second highest suicide rate in Latin America after Guyana, according to the World Health Organization, with an average of 20.25 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, double the world average.
For such a complex question as why so many Uruguayans commit suicide, there are several answers that combine social, family and personal factors, but one fact experts share is that the main risk groups are older adults and adolescents.
Uruguay, with a life expectancy of a developed country, has the second-oldest population in the region after Cuba, as 12% of Uruguayans are over 60 years old.
"Since 2014 we have seen a slowdown in the economy, which yes, grew, but there were sectors that went into recession, such as construction and parts of industries," said Laura Raffo, economist and consultant.