Amid economic boom, majority of rural Peruvians face poverty

26 May 2013

President Humala's promise to halve poverty has a mountain to climb, with more than a quarter of Peruvians impoverished, according to new official figures. Nationally 7.8 million people live in poverty. 1.8 million of these face extreme poverty, with monthly expenditure of under £40, and are unable to afford basic food purchases.

Despite rapid economic growth and a fall in the poverty rate last year, most (53 per cent) of Peru's rural citizens remain poor. Almost all extreme poverty is concentrated in rural regions. One in five of the rural population is affected by extreme poverty, compared to only 1.4 per cent in cities. The overall poverty rate is three times higher in rural areas than in cities, although it is now decreasing more quickly outside urban areas.

The national poverty rate decreased by 2 percentage points to 25.8 per cent last year, down from 30 per cent when Humala took office in 2011.

Rural areas are benefiting slowly from improved transport and communications infrastructure, as well as social assistance programmes. However critics say that an economy dominated by large-scale commodity exports, alleviated by welfare, will not generate inclusion and end poverty.

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    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

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