Colombia has the most unequal urban areas in Latin America, according to the United Nations, with the country’s second-largest city Medellin singled out as a hotbed of inequality.
While Latin America as a whole has been making strides to combat inequality, lowering rates of unequal income distribution across the region over the past decade, Colombia has bucked the trend, experiencing a 15% increase in inequality in urban areas over the last 20 years.
Colombia’s economy has expanded substantially since the middle of the nineties but according to UN-Habitat representative Eduardo Lopez, speaking to newspaper El Espectador, the country’s urban poor have been passed over while rich get richer, effectively preventing revenue from entering impoverished communities.
“In Medellin, we see an oligarchy that continues to dominate the economy and so the wealth created since the mid-90’s still hasn’t reached the poor,” said Lopez.
Although recently undertaken infrastructure projects in Medellin, such as public transport, libraries, schools and parks, will have a positive impact on inequality, Lopez said that he “doesn’t know when” they will show verifiable results.
This is the second time this week that the UN has pointed out Medellin as a notable urban center, although in the last instance it was positive – as host of the World Urban Forum talking about “the model for cities in the next 20 years.”
- Ciudades colombianas: más desiguales (El Espectador)