Latin American leaders see opportunities for economic and social growth in 2022

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latin American leaders, speaking on day three of the World Economic Forum’s Virtual Davos Agenda 2022, expressed optimism about the region’s economic prospects for the future. coming year.

Latin America recorded a strong economic recovery in 2021 and will most likely show moderate growth in 2022, as many countries continue to implement fiscal, social and health policies for a sustainable post-pandemic recovery. The region has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, but has been a game-changer with successful ongoing vaccination programs.

Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, said, “Colombia closed 2021 with positive results,” noting his country’s positive economic growth and high percentage of vaccination rates. He said the goal for 2022 was to maintain growth while closing the social inequality gap.

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, said 85% of his country’s population had received a second COVID vaccine and the process of vaccinating children was underway. “The main thing for Costa Rica is our vaccination campaign. This is the only way out of the health crisis,” he said.

Other countries in the region, including Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru, also highlighted the success of their vaccination campaigns. As they continue to recover from the pandemic, the leaders said they were focused on rebuilding their economies with particular emphasis on the labor market, trade, attracting foreign investment and l ‘durable energy.

Alejandro Giammattei, President of Guatemala, said, “The challenge we have now is not just to promote growth, but to turn growth into something sustainable. We need to improve the labor market and create more jobs. This will lead to better prosperity, health and education. Creating new opportunities and ensuring economic benefits would reach all parts of society, which, he stressed, would also curb migration. “The only thing that stops a person is a wall of prosperity,” he said.

Guillermo Lasso, President of the Republic of Ecuador, highlighted the need for governments to commit to ethics and principles. “We need economic and inclusive growth with respect for the rule of law and programs that promote new opportunities. It is not just about economic growth, but about quality of life and social cohesion.

José Pedro Castillo Terrones, President of the Republic of Peru, said his priority is economic reforms, noting that his government has invested $10 billion in strategic areas such as education, health and transport, and has recently signed an infrastructure bill that will lead to more jobs. . “We also want to invest in energy and natural gas, especially in transport, so that the whole country is connected,” he added.

Leaders agreed that connecting the region is critical to Latin America’s future prospects. Several countries, including Ecuador and Guatemala, have signed new trade agreements with Mexico, indicating that it will open up free trade in the Pacific and their economies to foreign investment. “Integration is important,” President Giammattei said. “It reflects a closer and more significant interaction that allows us to improve the economic situation.”

The environment is another area that has seen increased regional cooperation. Ecuador recently signed a decree to expand a new marine reserve and protect an area north of the Galapagos Islands. The expanded area will eventually connect the Galapagos to Panama’s Coiba Islands, Colombia’s Malpelo and Costa Rica’s Coco Islands. “When it comes to the environment, we need to have better integration, especially when it comes to biodiversity and climate change,” President Alvarado said.

Mauricio Claver-Carone, President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), stressed the importance of public-private partnerships to help achieve social and environmental goals. Regional integration mechanisms, such as the IDB, can provide funds to help Latin American countries build their post-pandemic recovery as well as support priorities ranging from health and digitalization to action against climate change, supply chains and education.

“The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges, but it has also opened up historic opportunities for Latin America, particularly in areas such as digitalization, supply chains, SMEs, gender equality and the climate action, and we’re proud to be here, focused on helping countries seize those opportunities,” he said.

Norma A. Roth