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Peru serves as one of the strongest examples in Latin America of how a democratic, lower-income country can emerge from poverty through trade-led growth, responsible environmental stewardship, and sound macroeconomic policies.

Since 1961, USAID has implemented ambitious assistance programs in Peru across several sectors.  Over the last five decades, U.S. assistance has played a critical role in the progress of the country.  USAID support has helped Peru reduce poverty, increase literacy, improve communications and transport systems, reduce infant mortality, recover from natural disasters, achieve macro-economic stability, consolidate democratic participation, and advance education, health, agriculture, and economic opportunities.  In addition, USAID has also provided life-saving humanitarian assistance, worked to promote alternatives to illicit crops, supported climate change adaptation projects, and provided forest certification and biodiversity protection.   The U.S. government continues to work hand-in-hand with Peruvians to confront development challenges and demonstrate the advances resulting from the last fifty years of partnership.

In 2009, Peru became an upper middle-income country with a Gross National Income per capita of $3,990.  In 2010, Peru’s GDP per capita grew to $5,224, with total GDP of $154 billion (Peruvian Central Bank 2011), continuing as one of the strongest economic performers in Latin America.  However, Peru’s Gini coefficient (income disparity measurement) of 0.51 remains relatively high by developing country standards (UNDP, 2010).  Though Peru experienced an impressive reduction in poverty rates, from 54 percent in 2001 to 31.3 percent in 2010 (Peruvian National Statistics Office, 2010), poverty levels and social indicators still place Peru behind many countries in the region (World Bank, 2011).

Challenges remain to overcome poverty, strengthen democracy, maintain trade-led economic growth, improve the overall health of the population, and broaden economic opportunities.  To achieve these goals Peru must strengthen government capacity to provide quality public services, improve environmental stewardship, and combat narco- trafficking.  USAID will continue to support the building of prosperity and democracy in Peru by helping to address these gaps.