ECLAC: Investment Key for Bolstering Diversification, Infrastructure, and Integration of Region’s Countries

ECLAC’s Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena

DAVOS, Switzerland, Friday January 24, 2020 – The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, has stressed the key role of public, private and foreign direct investment for bolstering productive diversification, infrastructure, and the integration of countries in the region.

Participating in the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the senior United Nations official spoke at a session entitled ‘Strategic Outlook: Emerging Markets on the outlook for emerging markets in 2020’, where she presented an economic and social overview of the region.

The other members of the panel included Mohammad Al Tuwaijri, Minister of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia; Jin Keyu, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science; and Bill Winters, Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank

Bárcena spoke of the high impact that trade tensions between China and the United States have had on the region, noting that these two countries are Latin America and the Caribbean’s main trading partners.

She indicated that while the impact is seen in commodities prices, it also evidenced in overall trade: exports have fallen three per cent and imports, five per cent.

In addition, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary addressed the origins of the social disenchantment being felt in the region, which represents the breaking point of a model associated with three decades of wealth concentration, combined with insufficient growth.

With regard to this, she indicated that the reigning model’s lack of legitimacy is mainly affecting young people, who are expressing their despondency about the future.

“That is why we must move towards a new development paradigm that would take economic growth into account, establish equality as the driver of that growth, and be sustainable. This is about growing to equalize, and equalizing to grow,” she stated.

Bárcena also stressed the importance of addressing the migratory problem affecting Central America, the United States and Mexico.

In that sense, she highlighted the Comprehensive Development Plan for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and south-southeast Mexico, and underscored the important role that the private sector can play in development with equality in a region like Central America, where the 10 per cent of the population with the highest income obtains as much as 70 times more than the poorest 10 per cent.

“We need ambition and clear objectives to transform migration into an option, rather than an obligation,” she said.

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