Chile has become the first South American country to be admitted into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Michelle Bachelet, Chile's president, says entry into the group is a major stride towards joining the ranks of developed nations.

Chile has, in the last two decades, gone from being one of the poorest countries in Latin America to one of the richest. 

Based in France, the OECD comprises 30 countries that promote principles of representative democracy and free-market economy.

It traditionally includes rich and industrialised nations such as the US, Japan and South Korea.

In recent years, it has also made efforts to give entry to developing economies such as Mexico and Poland.

Membership - given to countries that meet certain political and economic requirements - allows member states to discuss and co-ordinate global social, environmental, and economic policies.

Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman, reporting from Santiago, explains that Chile's free market economy was one factor that helped it gain entry into the OECD.

"An economic powerhouse like Brazil, for example, doesn't have such an open economy and has many protectionist measures," she said.

Source: Al Jazeera