World Bank President: Latin American Prosperity Comes from a Healthy Private Sector
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The 23 American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean that work together under AACCLA represent more than 20,000 companies and over 80% of U.S. investment in the region. Yesterday, the Chamber hosted AACCLA’s 45th annual meeting to examine the hemispheric agenda, where leaders in business and government, including World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and Grupo Salinas Founder and Chairman Ricardo B. Salinas discussed the outlook for the region and highlighted opportunities for growth.
In his keynote address to the hundreds of attendees who convened for the conference, Dr. Kim repeatedly stressed that only through growth in the private sector with jobs that are both inclusive and sustainable can societies reach their highest aspiration.
Speaking about the current economic outlook for Latin America, Dr. Kim said:
The overarching point, I think, that has become clear is the global financial uncertainty is the new certainty. With the euro zone debt crisis, the slow recovery in the U.S. and the prospects of a slower growth in Asia, especially China, countries in Latin America are learning to cope with changing circumstances.
We all know that Latin America is not one story; it's many stories. After the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, the region rebounded unevenly. In Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, the recovery was slower in part because of the dependence on the U.S. market for exports, including a slowing of remittances from the United States.
The bottom line is that the region needs massive private investment in infrastructure. It needs private investment in health and education, and it needs economic diversification beyond commodities production. This is why it's so important for Latin America to make manufacturing and services more competitive. Increased productivity is essential.
Overall, there's a need for Latin America to improve the investment climate and the ease of doing business so that entrepreneurs with good business ideas can find a good environment to invest, create wealth, and bring more prosperity to the region.
My experience in Latin America and around the world tells me that in the fight against poverty, you need to boost prosperity. That prosperity comes in part from a healthy, robust, and inclusive private sector.
AACCLA is embracing Dr. Kim’s message and will continue working to advance business in the Americas, including underscoring the importance of trade liberalization, encouraging the adoption of trade facilitation and customs modernization measures and promoting the rule of law, to the benefit of all of our economies.