The challenges faced by Mexico’s rural areas are significant. Mexico's countryside is home to a large population (more than the overall population of many OECD countries) that is highly dispersed and largely living in poverty. The potential of these areas is however significant, as their vast (and young) human resources, their natural, cultural and physical assets could provide, in a more diversified economy, a greater contribution to national development.
This review shows that the challenges and potential of rural areas are spatially differentiated and therefore require a place-based policy approach. The Mexican government has had significant success in framing a multi-sector rural policy. Some of these accomplishments can provide examples of best practice for other OECD countries. The continuity and institutionalization of these advances are a priority. In addition, efforts should be devoted to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of rural development programmes and to guaranteeing coherence with other major sectoral policies. This will contribute to addressing the country's major territorial and individual inequalities and will transform rural regions into sources of national development.