Sustained economic growth, healthy employment levels and reduction of poverty: these were priorities highlighted by President Sebastián Piñera as he launched a special agenda to help Chile reach its target of development by 2018.
Together with Finance Minister Felipe Larraín, Minister of the Economy Juan Andrés Fontaine and Labor Minister Camila Merino, President Piñera presented the document entitled “A developed Chile: more opportunities and better jobs,” outlining 50 initiatives to take Chile to its 2018 goal.
Some define development as reaching the per capita income rates set by southern Europe, around US$24,000 per annum. President Piñera also emphasizes other factors that are equally important measures of development for Chile, such as job creation, education and modernization and flexibility of the state.
These measures are similar to the standards of development used in calculating the Human Development Index (HDI) used internationally by the United Nations. The Index, which combines data on life expectancy, education and income, is the most frequently used quantitative tool for measuring the concept.
Currently, Chile has the highest HDI of any country in Latin America, and the fifth highest in the Americas and Caribbean combined.
At present, Chile ranks in the second of four international categories of Very High, High, Medium and Low development. Should Chile meet its 2018 goal of reaching the Very High category, it would become the first nation in Latin America to do so.
In January 2010, Chile also became the second Latin American nation after Mexico to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international group of 33 industrialized, democratic nations including the US, Japan, Australia and many European countries.
In order to reach the goal of development set out in the President’s agenda, Finance Minister Felipe Larraín said that Chile would aim to defeat homelessness by 2014, defeat poverty by 2018, maintain 6 percent annual economic growth and create 200,000 new jobs each year.
Minister Larraín said that these targets were tough but achievable: “The Chilean economy is experiencing strong growth, with six consecutive months around 7% growth, and so far this the year we have created 286,000 jobs.” By the end of the year, he added, the total of new jobs created in 2010 should exceed 300,000.
New initiatives proposed in the President’s agenda include incentives for reinvestment of profits in small- and medium- sized businesses and reform of government organizations such as the Corporation for Development of Production (Corfo) and the System of Public Enterprises, an organization which includes public services such as regional transportation, sanitation and port management.