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BRIEF August 29, 2018

Afro-descendants in Latin America: Toward a Framework of Inclusion


One in four Latin Americans identify themselves as people of African descent. They are one of the largest, yet least visible minorities in the region, comprising over 133 million people, the majority living in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela, according to World Bank report "Afro-descendants in Latin America: Toward a Framework of Inclusion".

They comprise a highly heterogeneous population and are unevenly distributed across the region, but share a common history of displacement and exclusion.

Despite significant gains over the past decade, Afro-descendants still are overrepresented among the poor and are underrepresented in decision-making positions, both in the private and the public sector.

The extent to which Latin America will be able to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity will therefore depend, to a very large degree, on the social inclusion of Afro-descendants.

The objective of this study is to deepen the region's empirical understanding of the drivers behind the persistent exclusion of the afro-descendants, as a first step to design appropriate solutions. The report proposes a framework to organize and think of the myriad options available to address their situations, based on the experience accumulated by the region and the data available.


For more data on Afrodescendants, check the LAC Equity Lab



Afro-descendants in Latin America: Toward a framework of inclusion


German Freire

Senior Social Development Specialist

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

Regional Director, Africa, Sustainable Development Practice Group

Carolina Diaz-Bonilla

Senior Economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice for Latin America and Caribbean