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IDB closes annual meeting in Korea, highlighting collaboration between Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean

BUSAN, Korea – The Inter-American Development Bank today closed the 56th annual meeting of its Board of Governors, which featured a series of events that underscored the strengthening of ties between Asian, Latin American and Caribbean nations.

In her speech at the meeting’s inaugural session, Korean President Park Geun-hye proposed three new partnerships to guide cooperation between her country and Latin America and the Caribbean: expanding development cooperation to high added-value areas; establishing a common market for the free movement of people, goods and capital; and sharing development knowledge and experiences for mutual prosperity.

In addition, the Korean president announced that her country will establish a $100 million fund for infrastructure investments in the region and provide up to $1 billion in bilateral financing for projects in the region.

The Board of Governors is the IDB’s top decision-making body. Its members are finance ministers, central bank presidents and other high-level authorities from the Bank’s 48 member countries.

During their deliberations, the governors approved a resolution to consolidate the IDB Group’s private sector-related activities (click here for details).

The governors also approved an update of the IDB’s institutional strategy for 2016-2019. The governors instructed the Bank’s management to prepare an action plan with specific targets for the strategy’s implementation over the next four years.

The governors reviewed the IDB’s 2014 activities. Last year the Bank approved a total of $13.6 billion in loans and guarantees and $214 million in grants for Haiti, confirming its role as the leading source of long-term financing for Latin America and the Caribbean.

In terms of volume, 42 percent of the new financing was approved for projects involving institutional development, such as state modernization and reform. Infrastructure projects, in sectors such as transport, energy, and water and sanitation, received 38 percent of the resources. Social sectors, such as health and education, received 16 percent, while the balance went to trade and integration projects.

Highlights of the 2015 Annual Meeting

Shortly before the Governors began their deliberations, the IDB released its most recent regional macroeconomic report: The Labyrinth, How Can Latin America and the Caribbean Navigate the Global Economy.

The report assesses potential external shocks the region may face in the coming months, and the impacts of declining commodity prices. Its authors caution that many countries will need to adjust their public sector budgets in order to address rising fiscal imbalances and financial risks. Furthermore, the report analyzes how governments might take such measures in ways that protect social gains and improve productivity.

One of the central events in Busan was a knowledge exchange forum, which focused on Korea’s extraordinarily rapid and sustained development since the 1960s. A group of 25 distinguished academic researchers discussed the public policies that allowed Korea to obtain outstanding results in education, urban development, industrialization and trade, among other fields, and their lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean.

In parallel, a business forum was held to promote stronger links among Latin American, Caribbean and Korean firms. More than 700 business people, representing from major corporations to small companies, took part in the event, which featured a match-making round to foster potential deals between entrepreneurs on both sides of the Pacific.

The influence of cinema in public policy was the subject of another seminar that featured conversations with renowned filmmakers from around the world who have put their expertise in the service of social causes. One of the centerpieces was the IDB-produced El Aula Vacía, a collection of short films on Latin America’s high school drop out crisis.

Another seminar on youth and innovation brought together a group of 11 young entrepreneurs from Latin America, the Caribbean and Korea. Prompted by President Moreno, participants discussed ideas for cross-border collaboration, such as using a Korean app that promotes reforestation to help replenish Haiti’s forest coverage.

The 2016 annual meeting of the IDB is scheduled to take place in Nassau, by invitation of the government of the Bahamas.