Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:39AM
After almost a decade of sustained economic growth, there are 8 million poor people in Argentina, two million of them struggling not to starve every day.
Argentina has managed to overcome the spectacular economic and social collapse that hit the country more than a decade ago, with GDP growing by 9.3 percent last year, the fastest pace since 2003. However, deep and serious challenges remain ahead as people like Oscar Alejandro Fernandez and his 17-year old nephew must wake everyday surviving on almost nothing, jobless and rummaging through garbage bins in search of food. According to the annual report by the Social Debt Observatory belonging to Argentina´s Catholic Church University, poverty rates have reached 21.9 per cent in the third trimester of 2011, with almost 2 million people suffering from hunger. In a few words, 8 million people out of a 40 million population struggle to meet their basic needs. Observatory´s researcher Eduardo Donza analyzed with Press TV such worrying trends in a nation where 5 million jobs have been created and significant state-centric programs carried out by the administration of president Cristina Fernandez over the past years. Praised by almost all political parties, the Universal Child Allowance (AUH), for instance, was introduced in 2009 and grants a monthly u$s 58 payment to parents who are unemployed or have precarious jobs, based on children´s school attendance and regular medical checkups. But low-income families who benefit from the AUH are failing to keep up with double-digit inflation, Mr. Donza explained. Social Debt Observatory´s figures contradict Argentina´s National Statistics and Census Institute (INDEC), quadrupling poverty official data. Despite government´s anti-poverty efforts, experts say there is a long way to go before Latin America´s N° 3 economy reaches true social inclusion and development standards.