After decades of boom to bust behavior, economies from Mexico to Brazil are looking dynamic, diverse and durable, helped by a wealth of natural resources and a good measure of fiscal discipline.
"Latin America is among the regions leading the economic recovery," says Mona Pearl, founder and COO of BeyondAStrategy, a global business development firm. "Latin America's economic performance is certain to improve even more."
"Latin America has been notorious for centuries as having a poor track record for sustaining economic growth," says Larry Harding, founder and president of High Street Partners, an international business service firm. "But things are different now. The area is blessed with commodities and natural resources that are in demand and a lot of the political instability of the past is gone. It's really an economic engine."
It's a big engine at that—some 600 million people and 36 countries—from Mexico to the Caribbean islands to the bottom of the continent and Chile.
Once thought of as under-developed and ignored, Latin America boasts huge reserves of raw materials like oil and minerals, growing industries as well as population, while attracting billions in investment money from China, Europe and the U.S.
And despite 2010 being a recovery year because of the global economic downturn, Latin America still ranks second among emerging markets behind Asian countries in terms of gross domestic product growth, GDP, and represents nearly 18 percent of the total GDP from all emerging markets.
"The interesting thing is that before the Great Recession, during and now after, emerging markets have been growing fast than mature markets," says Bob Gitter, department of economics chair at Ohio Wesleyan University. "That is true of Latin America."