IDB chief: Latin America at crossroads due to pandemic
Barranquilla, Colombia, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- Latin America and the Caribbean are at a crossroads as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and the only way forward is to pursue “a sustainable recovery,” the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Mauricio Claver-Carone, said Wednesday at the opening of the annual meeting of the boards of governors of the IDB and IDB Invest.
“Latin America and the Caribbean are at a crossroads. This is a key moment to reflect on the social and economic crisis our countries are facing,” Claver-Carone said to kick off the virtual assembly hosted by the Colombian city of Barranquilla.
The IDB chief said the aim of the five-day meeting is to “forge a vision of the future, to explore opportunities for recovery and sustainable growth.”
Economic activity in Latin America fell by 7.4 percent in 2020, the biggest slump in decades, and though a rebound of 4.1 percent is forecast for this year, a return to pre-pandemic levels is not expected until 2023, mainly due to the impact the health crisis has had on employment, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The first day of the annual meeting is focused on the development of sustainable infrastructure, especially through greater involvement of private investors, taking into account the challenges presented by climate change.
“Investment in infrastructure is fundamental for economic recovery thanks to the strong relationships it has with trade, industry, private and social services and public administration,” Colombian Transport Minister Angela Orozco said.
The importance of creativity and the cultural sector for the region’s economic recovery is also on the agenda, as well as the need to promote inclusive growth.
Besides Claver-Carone and Colombian President Ivan Duque, high-level participants in the meeting include Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Angel Gurria.
This is the fifth time that Colombia has hosted an IDB Annual Meeting. The previous events took place in Bogota (1968), Cartagena (1982 and 1998) and Medellin (2009). EFE