Development that Works
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    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Tag: uruguay

    Found 7 posts.

    Winds of Change in Uruguay

    By - 16 de April de 2015, 12:01 am

    Por Steven Collins*

    Uruguay is demonstrating that there is more to renewable energy than lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

    The Palmatir Wind Project in Uruguay | Photo: Palmatir’s project.

    The Palmatir Wind Project in Uruguay | Photo: Palmatir’s project.

    Renewable energy is a big deal inUruguay; over two-thirds of the country’s energy comes from hydropower. However, droughts in past years have left the country’s reservoirs dangerously low, and as a result, hydropower facilities have struggled to meet the country’s rising energy demands. To help, Uruguay has turned to the private sector to kick-start the development of other renewable energy technologies, primarily wind and solar. There are now dozens of projects, both public and private, making Uruguay’s energy sector a greener industry, and the country is now focused intensely not only on achieving ambitious nationwide green energy goals, but also on better understanding and incorporating environmental and social concerns as it works to meet those goals. Read more…

    A Bet That Pays Off: the Agricultural Market of Montevideo

    By - 4 de December de 2014, 6:40 am

    By Verónica Adler and Ana Castillo*

    The Municipal Government bet on renovating the iconic Agricultural Market in the Goes neighborhood, and in the first trimester of 2014 the restored landmark generated 550 jobs and had a turnover of $US8.8 million.

    Restored facade of Montevideo's Agricultural Market. Photo: Wiki commons . Shirley Olivera .

    URUGUAY – Restored facade of Montevideo’s Agricultural Market. Photo: Wiki commons . Shirley Olivera .

    The good old days

    Carmen and Carlos are a married couple in Montevideo, who have been residents of the Goes neighborhood for more than four decades. It was in Goes that they met at a neighborhood club, then married and raised their two children Juan and Silvia, who today are university graduates and professionals like many children of the middle class.

    Goes was founded in 1866 and is one of the most emblematic areas of the city, with a wide variety of services, institutions and facilities. The historic convergence of immigrants of diverse origins has given it a rich cultural heritage.

    Goes has a unique flavor. The historic neighborhood brings together residential housing, as well as basic industries and shops employing more than 2600 people. In 1886, a large fruit and vegetable market was built in Goes and called the Agricultural Market of Montevideo. It was an exemplary building, a donation from the Belgian government, which for decades injected money into the neighborhood and into Montevideo as a whole. Read more…

    Laptops, children and Darth Vader

    By - 19 de September de 2014, 6:40 am

    Remember the 2011 Superbowl “Darth Vader Kid ad where a young boy attempts to use The Force to start a washer and wake up the dog? The Force only works on a Volkswagen Passat, after his father – hiding behind the kitchen window -uses the car’s remote to start it. We are fascinated that a little boy’s imagination can be triggered by a remote control: the video has over 60 million views.

    That fascination is even more acute with machines that allow us to share, have fun and even learn macroeconomics. With a computer, you can google pretty much anything, learn the Pythagorean Theorem on the Khan Academy or even find that old clip from the 1950s that pretty much invented computer animation. All you need is a laptop, or a tablet, or a phone, and a connection to the web.

    If all the kid needed was The Force (and a remote), maybe what kids need for learning is a laptop.

    So why not give out free web enabled laptops to all school age children in Uruguay? Read more…

    Montevideo’s Sanitation Project Stands the Test of Time

    By - 31 de March de 2014, 11:18 am

    By Tania Páez

    The pressure to obtain short-term results is not exclusive to the corporate world. Development projects are also subject to the same type of pressure. While CEOs feel compelled to show profits to shareholders every quarter, politicians need to show voters the results of their development projects every election cycle. That can make it difficult to implement long-term projects for which voters won’t see immediate results. To make matters worse, projects started under previous administrations are sometimes changed or even abandoned by the incoming administration.

    When a country manages to overcome such challenges, its achievement should be duly noted—and that is what has happened in Uruguay, which has been successfully implementing a large-scale sanitation project in Montevideo with support from the IDB for nearly four decades.

    The Uruguayan capital—whose 1.3 million residents make up nearly half the country’s population—was the first city in South America to build an extensive sewer system, which now covers nearly 91 percent of its urban population compared with 69 percent when the project started. Thanks to this system, 60 percent of the sewage is now safely discharged through a submarine outlet, which has allowed Montevideo to clean up its most popular beaches, and reduce contamination of rivers cutting across the city. By 2015, 100 percent of the sewage collected will be treated and the Montevideo bay organic polluting load will be reduced in 65 percent, due to the construction of a second submarine outlet in the west side of the city.

    Montevideo was the first city in South America to build an extensive sewer system, which now serves 91% of its urban population.

    How Did Uruguay Succeed where Others Have Failed?

    Here is how it beat the odds:

    • Long-term mentality: When the project started, only downtown Montevideo and a small number of neighborhoods were connected to an antiquated sewerage system that dated to the beginning of the 20th century. Most wastewater was untreated and dumped along the River Plate coast and popular recreational beaches. Authorities realized that nothing less than a comprehensive plan would solve the problem, and that implementation would require a large investment – more than $500 million – that could only be executed over a long period of time.
    • Stakeholder buy-in: Improving sanitation conditions was considered a top priority by Montevideo’s residents for years. That was fundamental to making the project a long-term priority for the city, the executing agency, and the national government, which has been financing the project.
    • Laying a solid foundation: The city has worked with national and international experts to devise a long-term development plan that, on the one hand, laid the technical foundation for the project by incorporating best practices in urban development and sanitation, and on the other, helped future administrations understand the “big picture’’ and the importance of continuing the works.
    • Show, don’t tell: This IDB was among the first to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis using a methodology known as “contingent valuation,” which allows beneficiaries to quantify in monetary terms project benefits that do not have a market value—such as less pollution of their favorite beaches. This evaluation showed in a clear and measurable way the project’s economic benefit to Montevideo’s citizens. It was also a fundamental tool that enabled different administrations at both the national and municipal levels to validate their investments in the project and maintain their commitment.
    • Good governance: Since the beginning of the project, the city of Montevideo has been the executing agency responsible for its design and implementation. The city has created a highly qualified technical team to manage the project. The team’s responsibilities, purpose, and personnel have changed little over the years, despite several changes in administration. This continuity—the team is currently working on the fourth phase of the project—has helped ensure that any project changes were solidly based on technical grounds.

    Overcoming the political cycle is a difficult task for any government seeking to leave a tangible and lasting legacy. Montevideo’s sanitation project shows that this goal is achievable if policymakers dare to think long term and lay the proper institutional and political foundation to ensure that a project can endure changes in administrations, political differences, and the test of time.

    Is innovation a threat to employment in Latin America?

    By and - 4 de March de 2014, 6:25 am

    Joint blog post with Gustavo Crespi

    The relationship between innovation and employment has never been an easy one. For a long time innovation was seen as a potential threat to employment and economists got to the point of defining technological unemployment as a disease.

    The argument was that technological change could create unemployment through the substitution of capital for labor. The discussion has then evolved over time to take into account how different types of innovation under different market conditions may imply different effects on employment and employment composition.

    innovation employement Latin America


    For instance, process innovation can induce a substitution of capital for labor, but can also result in higher productivity, lower prices, and higher demand, which will eventually create new jobs for displaced workers (the well-known compensation effects). So, the final effects of innovation on employment depend on the balance between substitution and compensation effects.

    Few weeks ago a couple of articles by The Economist (“Coming to an office near you” and “The onrushing wave”) revamped the debate on how much employees should be concerned about new technologies pushing them out of their jobs. Although acknowledging that in the long run innovation still seems beneficial both in terms of quantity and quality of jobs, the articles report the opinion of economists (including Larry Summers), who believe that nowadays technical change is increasingly taking the form of

    capital that effectively substitutes for labor

    and that we may be facing a temporary phase of maladjustment to the productivity gains induced by the recent high paced sequence of technological changes.

    Is innovation a threat to employment in Latin America? Read more…