ASUNCION – The Paraguayan administration presented on Monday the National Poverty Reduction Plan – Jajapo Paraguay (Let’s Do It, Paraguay) – with the aim of eradicating all forms of poverty in the landlocked South American country in a phased program by 2030.
Paraguay, with some seven million residents, in 2019 registered a total poverty rate of 23.5 percent – meaning that 1.657 million people live below the poverty line, with 284,000 or 4 percent living in “extreme poverty,” according to figures compiled by the General Statistics, Surveys and Censuses Directorate (DGEEC).
The presentation of the plan and its later development will be marked by the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy and way of life of different groups within the region, but Paraguay’s GDP has been one of those in the region that has been the least affected by the crisis.
That outlook was presented by Alicia Barcena, the executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), who spoke by videoconference.
“Paraguay has been one of the few countries that has been able to manage the pandemic very well,” said Barcena, emphasizing that the country “also is part of this vulnerability” that besets the entire region.
She said that among the problems affecting all of Latin America are informal work (as opposed to steady, salaried jobs), inequality and fragile health care systems, and so she sees in Paraguay’s plan “a great advance” within a context marked by “very difficult times.”
Meanwhile, Social Development Minister Mario Varela acknowledged that the plan represents “a challenge” that will have to be implemented “with all sectors.”
“Building a vision from bottom to top. Poverty, perhaps is one of the most sensitive realities we must attend to as a government,” he said during his address at an event that was also attended by Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez and other top government officials.
The deputy minister of Social Development, Cayo Caceres, said that the general aim of this program is “to reduce poverty in Paraguay, in all its forms, without leaving anyone behind.”
Caceres said that the plan will provide individual accompaniment to people in extreme and group aid in the case of moderate poverty.
It also includes strengthening work and production abilities and helping producers and businessmen with seed capital and loans under favorable conditions.
The Paraguayan government wants to be able to repeat the success of past programs, which managed to reduce overall poverty from 57.7 percent in 2002 to 23.5 percent by 2019.