More than 150 businesspeople, government officials, and academics attend event at the Bank’s new office in Madrid
MADRID, Spain – As one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, Latin America and the Caribbean offers interesting trade and investment opportunities for Spanish companies seeking to boost their international operations, according to private sector specialists from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) who presented at a special seminar on Nov. 19.
IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and Enrique V. Iglesias, Secretary-General of the Ibero-American Community, inaugurated the event, “Opportunities with the Private Sector Group of the Inter-American Development Bank”, jointly organized by the Spanish Institute for Commerce (ICEX). More than 150 representatives of Spanish firms gathered at the Bank’s new Europe office in Madrid for the seminar, and were joined by government officials, including Spain’s State Secretary of Trade, as well as representatives of academic institutions.
“Spain’s recovery will draw strength from Latin America and the Caribbean’s economic growth,” Moreno said during his opening remarks. “Demand for Spain’s products, for its talent and for its know-how will come from our region, and it will be stronger than many imagine.”
Bank officials explained how the IDB works with private sector companies of all sizes, providing financing and technical assistance to help them take advantage of the many opportunities for investment that exist in the region and that contribute to economic and social development. They include projects in such areas as infrastructure, energy, transportation, and water and sanitation, tourism development, fishing, agriculture and food processing, information technology, environment, health and life sciences, among others.
The Bank is particularly interested in working with companies seeking to enhance economic and social development in the LAC region, such as those that facilitate access to basic services, that improve the environment, that provide access to credit and that contribute to regional and global integration, among others.
As part of its efforts to help mid-size companies expand into international markets, the IDB also provides financing and guarantees for companies engaged in international trade, and is creating ConnectAmericas, a platform to facilitatelinks between businesses with potential trade partners and investors and provide data on international trade and access to finance. In addition, ConnectAmericas will support the implementation of the SME Iberoamerican Charter approved in the XXII Iberoamerican Summit held in Cadiz on November 17.
During his visit, President Moreno announced that the IDB will provide commercial banks with $70 million for expanding their lines of credit to firms wishing to export or invest abroad, as well as $350 million in guarantees through local banks to companies that participate in international bidding for the provision of services through the IDB’s Trade Finance Facilitation Program.
Moreno signed several colaboration agreements with Spanish and European organizations. The IDB and the EU-LAC Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen ties between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), by sharing knowledge, carrying out joint studies and seminars, and working together to stage EU-LAC Business Summits.
Telefónica, S.A. and the IDB agreed to work together on education, starting with a specific program to ensure universal access to quality education for all Brazilians, and on the issues of sustainable cities, broadband connectivity, business accelerators and citizen security.
The IDB also agreed with the IE Business School to promote sustainable banking in Latin America through scholarships for banking employees through the IDB’s beyondBanking program, and to work together on case studies related to mid-size companies’ efforts to internationalize their operations.
Fundación Santillana and the IDB agreed to carry out and disseminate joint studies on topics related to education,starting with a studyof best practices related to the integration of technology in education, with a specific focus on countries that have performed well on the OECD´s PISA achievement tests.
Fundación MAPFRE also started a partnershipwith the IDB to work on improvingroad safety, and to develop joint projects for youth, art and culture in Latin America.
About the IDB
Established in 1959, the IDB is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. It supports efforts by countries in the region to reduce poverty and inequality, bringing about development in a sustainable, climate-friendly way. The Bank has 48 member countries, including 26 borrowing countries in the region. The Madrid office serves the Bank’s 16 European member countries as well as Israel and Europe-based international organizations.
Ignacio Polanco, President of the Fundación Santillana and IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno.