Making Latin America’s decade a reality

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Making Latin America’s decade a reality

As I get ready to join the discussions on Latin America's development at the IDB's Montevideo Assembly, one word keeps coming to me in slow motion, like scenes from a movie: part-ner-ships.

It is easy to see why such word is so important these days of uncertainty in global markets and economies -where joining efforts has been the sensible way forward and out of major peril.


By this same token, I think the IDB's annual gathering will be a great opportunity to show why, by working closely together --the IDB and the World Bank, among others-- can better support the region's efforts to consolidate its growing position in the world and its quest for sustained growth with opportunities for all its citizens.

It all boils down to making the 2010's "Latin America's decade" --as my friend, IDB's president Luis Alberto Moreno, likes to say.

Precedent backs me up on this attempt to work in tandem. In 2009, when the global crisis sent capital markets into a tailspin, the IDB, the CAF, ourselves and other sub-regional institutions joined forces and committed to deliver US$90 billion to the region over 2 years. This pledge served as a firewall against the contagion from a crisis that the region did not contribute to create.

Together we supported countries in their efforts to absorb the shock and come out of the slump stronger than before.

Today we confront a different set of uncertainties coming from the Euro-Zone and the announced slowdown of the Chinese economy, a vital partner of Latin America.

The good news is that the chance of a catastrophic scenario taking place is less likely than a couple of months ago. Among the reasons: the US economic indicators' uptick and the recent restructuring of the Greek debt backed by a massive cash injection from the European Central Bank.

The conditions are ripe for making this the decade of Latin America. Countries can build on the achievements of the past decade --on commodity-led growth, on inclusion, on poverty reduction-- and start addressing the next set of challenges and constrains that stand in the way.

Things are indeed looking up but there is no ground for complacency. On the economic front, the next battle is about improving productivity and value chains and innovation. It’s also about improving logistics and modernizing infrastructure,  removing obstacles for growth and social mobility include also improving citizens’ security, providing better basic services at the local level, and putting education quality first.

To address all that a more effective State is needed –not smaller or bigger but smarter in delivering the services demanded by its citizens.

The region can count on us as trusted partners in this endeavor.


Hasan Tuluy

Former World Bank Regional Vice President for Latin America & the Caribbean

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