In Depth takes a close look at one sector critical for development in Latin America, taking into account the strategic challenges and opportunities the region will have in the future. This year’s Outlook analyses SME policies for structural change.

SME policies for structural change

The economic outlook for Latin America remains relatively positive, but is subjectto uncertainty and volatility because of the wider external context.After nearly a decade of continuous expansion, interrupted only in 2009, the mostrecent projections indicate growth of 3.2% in 2012 and 4.0% in 2013 (ECLAC, 2012).These figures indicate an economic slowdown relative to recent performance, whichwould be accompanied by a decline in inflation. In the short term, this scenariowould mean the economy is likely to perform well compared to the rest of the world,providing continued economic stability in the region. In the global economy, sluggishgrowth is expected in 2012 and 2013 due to fiscal problems, financial fragility andhigh unemployment in the euro area. Additionally, although the US economy isseeing higher growth than the euro area, economic consolidation is still weak andthere remains a risk of a sharp contraction in fiscal strength in 2013. In additionto the slow growth of developed countries there will be a slight slowdown in theChinese and Indian economies, which have been key drivers of global growth,especially in Latin America.