ASUNCION – Outgoing Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes said on Sunday, in his final report to Congress before stepping down next month, that his policies have reduced poverty and spurred economic growth of better than 4 percent annually.
“The biggest achievement was bringing poverty and extreme poverty to their lowest level in Paraguay’s democratic history,” Cartes said, referring to the period following the 1954-1989 Stroessner dictatorship.
Cartes said that his government fostered stable economic growth despite external turmoil, keeping the budget deficit well within the limits established by Paraguay’s Fiscal Liability Law.
“Paraguay offers the world a new ecosystem for investment with the region’s best economic growth rate,” he said.
Cartes also hailed his administration’s expansion of social programs to cover more than “200,000 families throughout the country.”
Even so, Paraguay remains the second-poorest nation in South America, where peasants make up about 35 percent of the population and 90 percent of rural land is held by less than 5 percent of the landowners.
Cartes will leave office Aug. 15 in favor of President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez, also of the ruling Colorado Party.