As we mark the seventh anniversary of President Rafael Correa being elected to office in Ecuador, we look, below, at some of the impressive achievements delivered in that time, as part of the wave of social progress underway in Latin America.
Big steps forward have been made in delivering free healthcare and education, a living wage, record low unemployment, tackling poverty and inequality and clamping down on tax avoidance. A leaflet looking at these achievements is also attached.
Ecuador is today being transformed by progressive social and economic reforms known as the Citizen’s Revolution. Led by President Rafael Correa, this is tackling the deep crisis caused by years of extreme and devastating free-market policies that were forced on Ecuador and the rest of Latin America.
President Correa was first elected to office in 2007 in the aftermath of huge turbulence in Ecuador. Seven different presidents had been replaced in a decade. A massive banking crisis caused economic collapse. Unemployment rocketed and one in ten Ecuadorians left their country to escape the crisis.
As we mark the seventh anniversary since President Rafael Correa was elected to office in Ecuador we look, below, at some of the major achievements the Citizen’s Revolution has delivered.
1. An expanding economy: even though President Correa came to office on the eve of the global economic crisis, Ecuador has grown by an average 4.2% over the past seven years.
2. Eradicating poverty is now a priority: over 1.1m have been taken out of poverty since 2007 with poverty down one third, from 37% to 26%.
3. Tackling inequality: economic growth now works for the majority with Ecuador having reduced economic inequality faster than any other Latin America country in recent years.
4. Free education for all: All children now get to go to school for free. University student numbers have also soared thanks to free university education being guaranteed in the Constitution. Ecuador now has the second highest levels of public investment in higher education in the world.
5. Healthcare for all: free healthcare is now guaranteed and three times as many medical consultations now take place than in 2006. Under President Correa, public health investment has totalled $9bn – three times more than spent by the previous four governments combined.
6. Tackling hunger: the proportion of underweight children has been halved and 40% fewer children suffer from stunted growth caused by malnutrition.
7. Decent work and a living wage: Ecuador now has the lowest unemployment rate in its history at 4.9% and the lowest in Latin America. For the very first time, the minimum wage now covers the value of a basic basket of goods, whereas it only covered 68% of this in 2006.
8. Greater social protection: over 1.2m more families are now protected by social security than in 2006.
9. Huge public investment: Ecuador’s economic growth and greater social inclusion has been led by a programme of public investment works that are modernising the country. Public investment is up three fold to 15% of GDP.
10. Clamping down on tax evasion: Ecuador now raises three times more in taxes than in 2006. It has done this by clamping down on tax avoidance so that the wealthiest now pay their share.
All these changes have been endorsed regularly at the ballot box. President Correa and his coalition of supporters have won nine elections since 2007 including a landslide 57% in the 2013 presidential election.
Juan Carlos Piedra
Co-secretary Friends of Ecuador