Latin America must increase giving

Latin America faces a dearth of charitable giving as international foundations turn their attention elsewhere. Giving among the region’s own corporations is well below that seen in the developed world. This was the main message emerging from the 8th Ibero-American Conference of the Third Sector in Mexico City last month. As international foundations look to Eastern Europe, Africa and South-East Asia, local donors need to take on a greater role.

The problem, according to CEMEFI’s Manuel Arango, is ‘not that there is a lack of goodwill, it’s that it’s been customary here to see social programmes as the duty of the government.’ He noted that only a few Mexican corporations donate even 1 per cent of their pre-tax income, well below the average of about 3 per cent in the US. There is also little incentive for individuals to make large donations since there is no inheritance tax in Mexico. However, the recent donation of Carlos Slim is a sign that, as Arango says, ‘change is occurring’.

San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 October 2006

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