The challenge of international development requires a medley of ideas. At the Multilateral Investment Fund, we work in an array of topics that are at the forefront of efforts to spur the economic development of the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each week, this blog "Trends" brings you our latest research and thinking. 

Our complete list of blogs can be found here.

Corporate social innovation is the new corporate social responsibility

By Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen

A new trend in international development has paired some unlikely business partners: development finance institutions and impact investors are working with large multinational corporations to fund projects that advance both development and business agendas.

Sports, theater, and circus arts ease at-risk youth into the workforce

By Claudio Cortellese

By Claudio Cortellese and Mariel Sabra 

For the vast majority of the 160 million youth between 15 and 29 years old in Latin America and the Caribbean, the transition into the labor market is anything but easy. Youth unemployment continues to hover around 13%—three times the rate of adults (5%). When broken down by gender, young women experience higher unemployment rates than their male counterparts (17% vs. 11%). And, of the young people who have been able to find a job, more than half are employed in the informal sector, according to the International Labour Organization

Banks are transforming themselves to reach the unbanked

By Tomas Miller

By Tomas Miller and Veronica Trujillo

There have been remarkable advances in financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean as measured by various indicators (access to bank accounts, supply of credit, insurance for micro and small enterprises, and availability of customer points of service) compared with levels in the previous decade. However, the region still falls short in terms of the overall penetration of its financial system and in comparison with other parts of the world. Access to and use of credit and savings—measured as the proportion of people that borrowed money or had savings accounts with formal financial institutions in the past year—reach only 11% and 14% of the region’s population, respectively. Also, the proportion of adults with any account at a financial institution or through a mobile banking provider is a mere 51%, compared with more than 60% globally, according to the The Global Findex Database 2014

The “Latinization” of public-private partnerships: What the world can learn from Latin America and the Caribbean

By David Bloomgarden

Also published on The Huffington Post

The world can learn from the experience of Latin American and the Caribbean in mobilizing private investment in public infrastructure and services. Let me begin with the fact that among emerging markets, Latin America and the Caribbean accounts for the largest share of public-private partnerships (PPPs) for the development of public infrastructure and the performance of public services. In the first half of 2014, the region had 49 projects worth $36.1 billion, which represented 71 percent of PPP investment in emerging market countries, according to the 2014 Global PPI Update, produced by the Public-Private Partnership Group of the World Bank and the Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI) Database.

Opportunities for economic development in peripheral regions

By Claudio Cortellese

In the last decade, Latin America and the Caribbean has revived a debate about industrial policies, often related to initiatives to support small and medium-sized enterprises, which employ more than half of the region’s workforce. These smaller businesses generally have far lower productivity than larger companies, so an improvement in their productivity can have a significant impact.