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07 de September de 2017Latin America’s position on the new hemispherical and global scenario
1img - Latin America’s position on the new hemispherical and global scenario

During the second day of the CAF Conference, top-level international experts such as Francis Fukuyama and Rick Waddell explored the geopolitical and commercial opportunities available to Latin America, within an international scenario marked by protectionism, technological disruption and the fight against corruption.

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"The United States, Latin America's main trading partner, has not been able to maintain the economic and political leadership role held for the past 60 years, but there is currently no other power that can fill that void, which means that the only solution for global stability is for the country to take back that position."   This is one of the conclusions of scholar Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University during the 21st CAF Conference that took place in Washington DC on September 6 and 7, organized by the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) along with Inter-American Dialogue and the OAS.

When interviewed by Susan B. Glasser, chief columnist for international political affairs, Fukuyama also said that there are a series of elements common to all parts of the world, such as growing inequality, corruption, vulnerability of the middle class, and the mistrust of political elites, which are shaping a new historical process.

As for the new U.S. administration's impact on Latin America, Rick Waddell, U.S. Deputy National Security Council Adviser, defended a relationship between the U.S. and Latin America based not so much on individual interests, but on common areas that must be tackled together, such as drug trafficking, organized crime, and corruption.

He also stated that in order to increase the flow of foreign investment into Latin America, the rules of the game must be clear and followed over a long period of time, at an institutional level. "The idea is to have persistent and standardized rules," said Waddell.

Corruption, transparency, and accountability

The conference discussed measures that national governments can adopt to curtail the corruption that jeopardizes many countries in the region and causes estimated losses of 142,000 million dollars - 3% of the Latin American GDP.

"Corruption is both more prevalent and more visible in Latin America nowadays. We have the unwanted phenomenon of a commodity boom, which creates a greater influx of money for corruption," said Ana María Sanjuán, senior adviser to CAF's Department for Economic Analysis and Knowledge.

Melina Castro Montoya Flores, Brasilia Chief Prosecutor, explained some functional measures that have been implemented to fight corruption, such as reducing hierarchies within the prosecutor's office, which allows for independent action in carrying out the required investigations. "Only the structural and systemic reforms we manage to implement will enable us to reach the desired level of development," said Montoya.

According to Laura Alonso, Secretary of Public Ethics for Argentina's Anti-Corruption Office, it is possible to effectively combat corruption. "We must build bridges to prevent corruption, in addition to effective institutions and controls, because handling the problem after it has occurred is extremely complex. Just like with any disease: it's easier to prevent it," said Alonso. 

A more positive note came from Eduardo Engel, chairman of Chile's Presidential Advisory Council against Conflicts of Interest, Influence Peddling and Corruption, who said that "there is a growing number of efficient independent prosecutor's offices, which has yielded positive results."

CAF has been promoting this discussion forum for high-level political leaders for 21 years, exploring strategies to promote transparency, accountability, and strengthen institutions under the goal of achieving sustainable development and reducing poverty in the region.

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