Business Forum brings together private and public sector leaders to promote infrastructure investment and integration

Argentine ministers and Mendoza governor take part in event held ahead of IDB Annual Meeting

MENDOZA, Argentina – The III Business Forum opened today with the participation of nearly 900 business leaders and government officials from 30 countries, who convened to discuss an ambitious agenda focused on boosting investments in infrastructure, promoting regional economies, and speeding up regional integration in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The forum, which is part of the Americas Business Dialogue, a public-private platform created to foster business links in the Western Hemisphere, took place in this Argentine city a day ahead of the annual meeting of the Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Bank and IDB Invest, its private sector arm.

Speakers included IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno, Mendoza Province Governor Alfredo Cornejo and Argentine Finance Minister Luis Caputo, Production Minister Francisco Cabrera, and Interior, Public Works and Housing Minister Rogelio Frigerio. Minister Caputo delivered a special presentation on investment opportunities in Argentina.

In his opening remarks, Moreno said this forum would help shape a series of proposals that will be presented to the heads of state and government attending the Summit of the Americas, scheduled to take place next month in Lima, Peru.

“For example, we will discuss the urgency of boosting investment in infrastructure in sectors such as transportation and energy, the advantages of promoting local economies and the importance of going forward with regional integration,” Moreno said.

Reducing trade costs and barriers in order to deepen regional integration was the main topic of discussion for a panel including Francisco González Díaz, Director-General of Mexico’s Bancomext; María Luisa Boyce, Global Affairs Director, UPS; Maritza Castro, Vice President for Customs and Regulatory Affairs, DHL Express; and Sean Summers, Vice President, Mercado Libre.

Senior executives from Walmart, Centro Logístico-México, Belatrix-Mendoza (software), Danper-Perú (agroindustry), and Café Los Santos-Costa Rica, discussed how local economies can gain access to international markets and integrate into value chains so as to boost their contribution to their countries’ development.

Latin America and the Caribbean need to invest about 5 percent of GDP annually over the next 20 years if it is to close its infrastructure investment gap, lower its transportation costs and gain competitiveness in the global market.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are crucial to leverage more resources and close this gap.  Between 2006 and 2015, the region received more than $360 billion worth of investments for more than 1,000 infrastructure projects through PPPs.

The forum’s session on infrastructure featured Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio Cárdenas and Jamaican Port Authority Vice President Elva Williams-Richards. Representing the private sector were Jay Collins, Citi’s Vice President for Corporate Banking and Investment; Antonio Domínguez, Director-General for South America at Maersk Line; and Pedro Less, Google’s Public Affairs Director, Latin America.

The Business Forum “Smart Integration with the world: promoting domestic economies and investment in infrastructure” was organized by the IDB as part of the Americas Business Dialogue (ABD), a private sector-driven initiative aimed at fostering a high-level public-private policy dialogue among business and government leaders. Over the years, the ABD has produced a set of recommendations on key sectors for the region’s economic growth and development.

Businessmen attending the Forum will hold bilateral meetings with several finance ministers to discuss progress on these recommendations, which will be presented at the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region. 

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