Mexico is home to danger, poverty, pollution, and agricultural degradation. These are the issues that many impact investments are designed to focus on. Yet, the impact investing flow of capital to Mexico is but a trickle compared to that of more favored nations.
Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Nicaragua, are south-of-the-border countries that receive a fair share of investment support from the developed world. Mexico has but a few institutionalized impact investment funds set up to help solve the rampant problems facing the country.
You would think there would be more, given Mexico’s position with the US. Stop crime and poor governance at its source, and the less infectious it becomes to the rest of the world.
Mexico is one of the world’s largest economies, ranked thirteenth by GDP and eleventh by purchasing power.
At the same time it is crime-ridden, with 30% more murders than the world average. Fully 15% of residents have been victims of some sort of crime, only eclipsed among OECD countries by South Africa. There are more than 115 million Mexican residents.
The crime is largely due to its 100,000 members of drug cartels. Due to this, the country has, according to various reports, five of the top ten most violent cities in the world.
Still, it has an enormous number of World Heritage sites: the most in the Americas, and only four countries worldwide have more special culturally or physically significant properties.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Mexico’s 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. Its administration continues to face many economic challenges, including improving the public education system, upgrading infrastructure, modernizing labor laws, and fostering private investment in the energy sector. President Felipe de Jesus Calderon has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs. Per capita income ($14,800) is roughly one-third that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal.
The US-Mexico Foundation and the Mexican-American Leadership Initiative are major players seeking to drive change through cross-border membership.
Major impact investing vehicles operating in Mexico include Ignia, Adobe Capital, Omidyar Network, and ACCION.
Areas of impact focus are mobile phone technologies for education and awareness, youth engagement, and environmental sustainability.