What We Do in Mexico
Freedom from Hunger established Alcance, our Mexican subsidiary, in 2005. Alcance’s principle focus is to assist financial institutions to integrate education and health protection services with their current financial service programs. Alcance has set the ambitious goal of reaching 3.3 million women and their families by 2014. Currently, Alcance is coordinating with Mexican government agencies and microfinance networks to promote financial education and equip financial institutions to deliver it.
By 2014, Alcance plans to launch Saving for Change programs in at least two Mexican states where traditional microfinance has not reached the rural poor. Given the rapid growth and commercialization of the Mexican microfinance market, Alcance plans to place special emphasis in the coming years on supporting institutions to successfully manage toward their social objectives and to strengthen the capacity of their personnel to provide high quality, client-responsive services.
- Area: 1,964,375 square km (slightly less than three times the size of Texas)
- Natural hazards: Mexico is subject to tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts
- Agricultural products: corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products
- Population: 113,724,226
- Ethnic groups: mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%
- Languages: Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%, unspecified 0.8%
- Population below poverty line: 18.2%
- Infant mortality rate: 17.29 deaths/1,000 live births
- Unemployment rate: 5.4%
Mexico is located in Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the United States and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the United States. After its independence in the early 19th century, Mexico experienced a strong devaluation of the peso in late 1994 which triggered the worst recession in over half a century. The global financial crisis beginning in late 2008 caused another massive economic downturn the following year.
As the economy recovers, ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely Amerindian population in the impoverished southern states. Since 2007, Mexico's powerful drug-trafficking organizations have engaged in bloody drug wars, resulting in tens of thousands of drug-related homicides.
In Mexico, the Ministry of Social Development considers that 54% of all Mexicans live in poverty, indicating they live on less than US$4 per day, while 32% live on less than US$2.5 and 24% on less than US$2.
Poverty in Mexico is characterized as the lack of access of its citizens to basic human needs such as nutrition, clean water, and shelter; it extends to the overall infrastructure of its society to include education, health care, social security, quality of basic services in the household, income and social cohesion.