LA faces social demands with few resources: IDB

Latin America and the Caribbean face a triple challenge, since they must satisfy more social demands –which includes ending poverty–, fiscal restrictions with high debts and a slow growth rate, said Ilan Goldfajn, president of the Inter-American Development Bank ( IDB).

When participating in the inaugural session of the annual assembly of that institution, in which Héctor Alexander, Minister of Economy and Finance of Panama was elected as president of the Board of Governors of the IDB and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest), Goldfajn He stressed that it is unacceptable that 60 million people in the region go hungry, when it is the main food exporter.

The manager recalled that in 2021 the regional economy advanced 3.9 percent, but now growth is slowing down as a result of superimposed crises, such as the invasion of Ukraine, the increase in food insecurity, and climate change.

He added that the citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean ask for more and better education, health, transportation, Internet and climate. Those demands are even harder to meet, because governments have limited resources..

He pointed out that the region has this shortage due to fiscal restrictions and greater debt, so to solve the problems it is necessary to improve the economy. “That is what the region has faced, the difficulty of increasing growth.

“The main challenge is triple, more social demands, fiscal restrictions with high debts and slow growth.

Governments must overcome the historical plagues of poverty and inequality, increasing productivity, accelerating growth while dealing with more frequent weather events, but with scarce resources.

He commented that the task is not easy, but it also implies changing the vision of seeing Latin America and the Caribbean. see her not as a victim of world problems, but as a region that contributes to their solution.

He stressed that dialogue is important, as it is more important in an increasingly polarized world.

He indicated that Latin America and the Caribbean are part of the global solution in food security, since with the appropriate reforms they can produce eight times more food than they do now and that would be enough to feed 10 billion people.

However, he regretted that being the main food exporter, 60 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean are hungry, this is totally unacceptable.

On another topic, he noted that some countries are leaders in the transition to zero emissions, such as Panama. He explained that 80 percent of the energy in Central America comes from renewable energies, while at the regional level it is 60 percent.

“Latin America is home to two thirds of the world’s lithium, which is part of the electric vehicle revolution that cannot exist without the key materials produced here.

The region could be a source of clean energy, the world must take advantage of that competitive advantage and in a sustainable way, strategically use our resources to promote inclusive development.

He recognized that the IDB must be more effective, focus on results and prioritize the solution of social issues –poverty, inequality in all dimensions, food insecurity, health and education–, as well as climate change, “which has already arrived to our region.

These challenges we face were not created overnight and I want to be honest, we are not going to solve them overnight.he concluded.

Author: JJ Beat

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