This month, the Kiva Blog is featuring Peru in our Passport Series! Stay tuned during the month to learn about the country, its microfinance industry, and some of its borrowers.
Peru is a luscious country in South America that is known for its beautiful landscapes (including the Amazon), ancient ruins (it's also home to Macchu Picchu), rich culture, and gorgeous textiles - among many other things! Kiva has 7 Peruvian Microfinance Field Partners.
Peru is 1.28 million square kilometers, which might it just slightly smaller than Alaska. The country has a population of almost 30 million people, and boasts a population growth rate of 1.2% (the US's population growth rate is 0.9% and the world average is 1.2%). An average of 2.3 children are born to every Peruvian woman.
Currently 71% of the population live in urban areas, which is constantly increasing with an urbanization rate of 1.7%.
84% of the population speak Spanish, while native languages account for most of the remaining percentages. Also, only 7% of the population is illiterate.
Photo Credit: CIA The World Factbook
Peru has a long history of political instability, but has recently seen a strong period of stability and thus thriving macroeconomic growth. The country's GDP was $251 billion (with ppp) in 2009, with a per capita GDP of $8,500 and a real growth rate of 0.9%. They have a fairly high Gini co-efficient of 52; where those who are the richest 10% in the country hold about 38% of the wealth and those who are the poorest 10% hold 1.5% of the nation's wealth. Poverty has been diminishing at an impressive rate, but there is still an estimated 30% of the population that live under $2 a day and 10% that live under $1 a day.
One of the largest issues facing Peru today is deforestation. Major efforts have been made to plant trees and stop deforestation. Check out a post that one of our Fellows wrote about planting trees with Peruvian schoolchildren!