The early years of this new decade have brought good news for Latin America and the Caribbean. The region weathered the international crisis with unprecedented resilience and emerged from it sooner and more strongly than the developed economies. It grew by 6% in 2010, and is expected to grow by over 4% in 2011. The region's economic reforms of past decades, its fiscal and macroeconomic prudence and its sound financial supervision, together with ever closer commercial ties with China and other emerging economies, have allowed it not only to successfully navigate through the worst international crisis of the past 80 years but also to enter the new decade with a promising outlook for growth and advances in quality of life. For the first time in its history, the region achieved during the past decade a combination of high growth, macroeconomic stability, poverty reduction and improvement in income distribution.
Despite recent improvements on many fronts, the Latin American and Caribbean region faces some formidable structural challenges. It still has the highest indices of inequality in the world, as well as serious lags in technology, innovation and competitiveness. Nevertheless, the region, together with its main partners, is approaching these challenges as opportunities for new partnerships that promote growth and development through increased trade and investment.