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Finance ministers from Americas and the Caribbean discuss challenges amid current macroeconomic uncertainty

Chaired this year by Colombia at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., the meeting provides an opportunity for annual dialogue among the ministers on issues that are strategic to the region

Finance ministers from the Americas and the Caribbean met on October 8 in Washington D.C. to exchange ideas on the challenges that the region faces amid an uncertain macroeconomic context, and to assess prospects for encouraging greater economic integration and regional cooperation.

Delegates from 22 countries were joined at the meeting by senior officials from multilateral organizations including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, CAF-Development Bank of Latin America and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. This sixth meeting of finance ministers from the Americas and the Caribbean was chaired by Colombia’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Mauricio Cárdenas.

“In a less favorable environment of the world economy and greater uncertainty, strong fundamentals and solid fiscal and monetary frameworks have helped some countries, but that is not enough,” Cárdenas said. “Without compromising fiscal discipline, we must look for ways to increase public and private investment, especially in infrastructure; undertake tax reforms to expand social policies; better prioritize and target public spending to make it more effective; and promote regional integration to better cope with a less favorable world economy.”

IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno took part in the opening session and urged governments to work hand in hand with the private sector to boost productivity in the region. “Achieving sustainable and inclusive growth will entail reallocating resources to more productive sectors and businesses, making our markets more flexible, enhancing the state’s ability to operate more efficiently each day, and raising the quality of education and accelerating social inclusion,” he said.

Later in the meeting, participants heard from US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

Shortly after the G-20 summit of 2008 and in response to the economic and financial crisis raging at the time, leaders of the hemisphere agreed to hold an annual political dialogue to discuss long-term development issues and promote economic integration and cooperation. This established the annual meetings of finance ministers of the Americas and the Caribbean. Earlier meetings were presided over by Mexico, Chile, Peru and Canada.

The IDB acts as technical secretariat by supporting the preparation and overall coordination of the meetings.

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