UN Habitat recently released a report that paints Latin America as the most urbanized region in the world, with a projected 90% of its population living in cities by 2025.
The question of whether or not this is a good thing attracts mixed opinion. The Agence-France Press (AFP) points out that the gap in income is widening. Just as much as it is the most urbanized region, Latin America suffers the most from income inequality.
Erik Vittrup, UN-Habitat head for human settlements, is more optimistic. He told the AP that,
“We’re at the end of an era of urban explosion, with few exceptions,” said Vittrup. “We’re seeing a reduction in poverty, indigence in urban areas; unemployment is going down.”
Overall, he said, Latin America is primed for “a new urban transition to quality of life, equity and sustainability.”
Even though the region might be prepped for a seminal social and economic leap, it still faces the struggle of lifting an estimated 124 million people out of poverty.
That is why Latin America’s budding centers of entrepreneurship that have come with the region’s storm of urbanization should feel as though there is more opportunity for creating new wealth than there are obstacles to stand in the way of its thumping innovation.
According to Techcrunch, a new wave of TechnoLatinas have emerged in certain cities, (think Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago, and Mexico City) where start-up “ecosystems” have already been scrambling to dig in. The Santiago-based Start-up Chile duels with the Silicon Valley for investment. Professionals with business and engineering talent are in abundance since more than half the population of Latin America is 30 years old or younger.
The ingredients to flatten out Latin America’s ugliest wrinkle – its income inequality – are all there. Now its Technolatina entrepreneurs need the sort of angel investment that descends on San Francisco’s hottest entrepreneurs. And maybe a dash of belief as well.