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Americas conference tackles Latin America's thorny Issues

Carlos Molina's picture

In the lead-up to the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, the Latin America and Caribbean Region VPU of the World Bank is co-hosting and attending the Americas Conference.

The Americas Conference got off to a good start today after addressing two of the most pressing issues facing the region: the impact of the financial crisis, that has engulfed Latin America for more than a year, and the political impasse that is rocking democracy in Honduras.

A group of World Bank experts told the meeting of Government and business leaders that Latin America is turning the corner vis-a-vis the financial crisis -one of the region’s worst-, as some countries were already showing signs of an early recovery.

A Renewed Faith in Public Investment

Marcelo Giugale's picture

In the lead-up to the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, the Latin America and Caribbean Region VPU of the World Bank is co-hosting and attending the Americas Conference.

As the dust settles in Latin America in the wake of the global financial crisis, along with the tough challenges ahead for the economic recovery, there seem to be unique opportunities to improve our region’s long-term outlook.

I have no doubt that this important Miami Conference –where Latin America converges in many ways, cultural and economic- is the ideal place to bring these ideas to the table and kick off a fruitful debate.

After the Crisis—World Bank President lays out vision for new global system

Angie Gentile's picture

Zoellick SAIS speech, After the CrisisOn the eve of the 2009 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, Bank President Robert Zoellick called on world leaders to reshape the multilateral system and forge a “responsible globalization”—one that would encourage balanced global growth and financial stability, embrace global efforts to counter climate change, and advance opportunity for the poorest.

“Coming out of this crisis, we have an opportunity to reshape our policies, architecture, and institutions,” Zoellick said, speaking at the DC-based Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.

“As agreed in Pittsburgh last week, the G-20 should become the premier forum for international economic cooperation among the advanced industrialized countries and rising powers. But it cannot be a stand-alone committee,” the Bank’s president noted.

In a speech laden with historical references, he spoke of the legacy of institutions established to deal with the global economy some 60 years ago and how the economic crisis is contributing to a changing multilateral global architecture.

"Bretton Woods is being overhauled before our eyes," Zoellick said.

The crisis has underscored the growing importance of the large emerging economies. “The current assumption is that the post-crisis political economy will reflect the rising influence of China, probably of India, and of other large emerging economies,” Zoellick said. “[T]he Greenback’s fortunes will depend heavily on U.S. choices.”

An opportunity to project a dynamic post-crisis region

Sergio Jellinek's picture

In the lead-up to the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, the Latin America and Caribbean Region VPU of the World Bank is co-hosting and attending the Americas Conference.

I’ve no doubt that the upcoming Americas Conference has the potential to become a platform to project a more dynamic, competitive and democratic Latin America as it exits its worst financial and economic crisis in decades.

Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias will attend the Miami forum as a special guest, whose voice is one of moderation and respect for the region’s diversity, but also of uncompromising commitment to the core values of democracy and peace.

His vision as chief mediator in the Honduras crisis and author of the San Jose Accord should provide an important contribution to discussions on the plight of this Central American nation.

Political stability in the region is, clearly, one of the key topics being addressed at the Miami conference, which lends particular relevance to the presence of former President and special UN envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton.

Post-crisis debate likely to heat up in Miami setting

Carlos Molina's picture

In the lead-up to the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, the Latin America and Caribbean Region VPU of the World Bank is co-hosting and attending the Americas Conference.

Old rumors fill corridors and grand rooms mimmicking 12th century Sevillian architecture. Perhaps are distant echoes from heated discussions that shaped Government agendas in previous years.

Or maybe it’s just small talk. Either way, it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to think about the Bushes, Clintons, Arias, Uribes or Bachelets of this world exchanging quick policy jabs within the corridors of the historic Biltmore walls as part of the decade-old Americas Conference, only a few days away now from trying to ignite once again an animated debate about the region’s political and economic future.

Cocooned in its limbo of palm trees and warm Miami breeze, the Biltmore Hotel seems to spur high stakes decision-making that has truly contributed to the region’s history -from Free Trade Agreements to Plan Colombia –while serving as a vacation hub for countless royalty and regional elites since the hotel was built in 1926.

In its first effort of this kind, the World Bank has joined this prestigious Conference as a partner, in the hopes of further engaging in a dialogue with the region as it exits the global financial crisis.

The latest move is part of the World Bank Group’s proactive approach to the crisis. It already has contributed an unprecedented US$17 billion in FY09 –triple previous annual commitments- to help countries in the region weather the financial crisis.

Full Speed Ahead: Internet Traffic Growth Unaffected by Financial Crisis

Joe Qian's picture

Reading about the financial crisis and the effects that have rippled around the world, it’s always heartening to find something positive in the midst of piles of red ink and pessimistic expectations.

Although the majority of industries and economies around the world have suffered due to the downturn, Internet traffic growth accelerated at an increasing rate in 2009 compared to 2008 with no discernible slowdown due to the crisis. According to data released by Telegeography, every single region around the globe registered growth in internet traffic, or flow of data. South Asia has registered over a 100% increase, higher than the 79% posted worldwide, although it must be noted that South Asia had a lower baseline capacity.

Doing Business Report 2010: South Asia

Joe Qian's picture

The World Bank released its annual Doing Business report (pdf) last week which tracks regulatory reforms for conducting business and ranks countries based on their ease of doing business.

Countries are evaluated and ranked by indicators such as starting a business, employing workers, getting credit, paying taxes, etc.

In South Asia, seven out of eight (75%) of the countries instituted reforms that were conducive to business, higher than any previous year of the study.

Pakistan was the highest ranked country in the region at number 85 while Afghanistan and Bangladesh were the most dynamic reformers with three reforms each. Afghanistan’s rank in the study also increased the most in the region, climbing eight spots.

Rwanda is the world's top reformer in Doing Business

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Based on the impact of reforms implemented between June 2008 and May 2009, Rwanda has been named "world's top reformer" in this year's Doing Business report. This is the first time an African country has received the title.  It now takes a Rwandese entrepreneur just two procedures and three days to start a business.  Transferring property takes less time, thanks to a reorganized registry and statutory time limits. Investors have more protection, insolvency reorganization has been streamlined, and a wider range of assets can be used as collateral to access credit.

Watch Your Wallets, Protectionism is Back!

Zahid Hussain's picture

Protectionism is BackProtectionism is on the rise all over the world, thanks or should we say “no thanks” to the global economic crisis.  Last November, G-20 leaders pledged to fight protectionism. Yet, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO), 18 out of these 20 economies have since taken measures to restrict trade. With the global economy struggling to recover, political pressures demanding protection from import competition to sustain domestic employment are intensifying. It is likely to prove right the old adage that the only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.  One lesson from the experience of the 1930s that is currently most relevant is that raising trade barriers deepens and prolongs recession.


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