In a wide-ranging interview published in the La República newspaper, José Antonio Ocampo, formerly the head of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, points to the need for Peru further to diversify its economy.

While recognising that Peru will be one of the faster growing economies in Latin America this year (see PSG article), he says that the country has failed to make full use of its rapid growth in the first decade of the new millennium to invest in programmes to raise productivity overall and to orient the economy away from its dependency on mining.

He insists that much more could be done to industrialise existing production of minerals and hydrocarbons so as to raise the value-added of the country’s exports. More too could be done to promote manufacturing industry.

He also points to the need for government intervention in research and development, since Peru lacks any world-class institutions in this area. These, he thinks, could lend their services to the private sector, thus raising productivity. And through higher productivity, he argues, the standard of living of workers would improve.

He also warns of the dangers to Latin America as a whole of the sort of protectionism being pursued in the United States: while Mexico may be the country worst affected, others too will be hit. Not only will this impact on their ability to export to the United States, but it will encourage the practice of dumping in those countries that do not erect barriers of their own.

Diverse thoughts and analysis of the commodity-led approach to development are also contained in a new publication, launched in Lima on 8 August and entitled ‘Alternative Pathways to Sustainable Development’. The book, part of a series on international development issues, is edited by Gilles Carbonnier, Humberto Campodónico and Sergio Tezanos Vásquez.