Latin America and the Caribbean propose solutions to gain global relevance

January 31, 2024

The CAF Annual Conference in Panama gathered distinguished international experts to visualize, understand, and devise action plans that accelerate the 2030 Agenda and globally position the solutions of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The CAF Annual Conference in Panama gathered distinguished international experts, including a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, the director of the IMF, and high-ranking representatives from the World Bank, UNDP, private sector, and academia, to visualize, understand, and devise action plans that accelerate the 2030 Agenda and globally position the solutions of Latin America and the Caribbean in areas such as climate change, digitalization, migration flows, or food security.

Latin America and the Caribbean need partnerships to reduce historical gaps in education, poverty, integration, health, and equity, and to have a more decisive impact on major global trends such as climate action, Artificial Intelligence, energy transition, or migration and food crises. These are the main conclusions of the distinguished group of international experts gathered at the CAF Conference: Latin America and the Caribbean, a region of solutions, which proposed measures to advance the 2030 Agenda and consolidate a new global voice.

The conference featured presentations by Esther Duflo, Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF; Janaina Tewaney, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama; Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank; and included the presence of distinguished global experts like Michelle Muschett, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; Amir Lebdioui, Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford; Alberto Arciniega, President of Microsoft Latin America; Julio Castiglioni, President of the São Paulo Metro; Denise Guillén Zúñiga, Minister of Tourism of Panama; and Sergio Londoño, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Communication, and Sustainability for Coca-Cola Latin America.

"Latin America and the Caribbean must raise its voice to avoid falling into irrelevance. We need new partnerships to better integrate infrastructure and accelerate trade flows, to adapt to climate change and close the equity gaps in a region that remains one of the most unequal on the planet. To achieve this, Latin America has CAF, whose mission continues to be solving the structural problems of the region," said Sergio Díaz-Granados, Executive President of CAF.

Nobel Laureate Esther Duflo shared her perspectives on the global economic situation and the role that the countries of the region play in it, analyzing the impact and the need for randomized controlled trials to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of the population. Referring to the role of development banks, she also highlighted the importance of choosing appropriate programs to amplify results and impact.

"Together we can help the region face its challenges and gain the strength it needs in this world prone to shocks", said Gueorguieva from the IMF, who valued the collaboration between the IMF and CAF in supporting countries with urgent financial needs and ensuring the financial stability of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Tewaney from Panama highlighted that “we are and will continue to be one of the most abundant and rich regions in the world from practically all points of view. To make the most of our wealth, we will obviously need to attract capital, and this will only happen if we manage to advance towards effective governance".

According to Jaramillo from the World Bank, "we have to help raise this voice so that countries can capitalize on the enormous potential we have. The decisions made today will set the course for future development". During his presentation, Jaramillo proposed strengthening ties at all levels to help the region face future challenges with more guarantees.

The conference panels discussed key issues for the region's future, such as the new development agendas of the countries, the geopolitical positioning of the region in a changing environment, the concerning economic outlook for the coming years, biodiversity as a bridge for innovation, gender equality, the deployment of Artificial Intelligence, the need for a more robust private sector, the energy potential, or the challenges to achieve efficient regional integration.