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IDB dialogue with Bolivian Legislators

Thirty-four legislators from Bolivia participated February 25-27 in a workshop on the role of Congress in the institutional, economic and political reform of their country.

Hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the meeting was inaugurated by the IDB operations manager for the Southern Cone, Ricardo Santiago, who welcomed participants to the first event of its type organized by the Bank with Bolivia.

Conscious of the key role that legislatures play in promoting development and overcoming crises, the Bank is engaging in a closer dialogue with parliamentarians to inform them about the support strategies agreed to with governments and its project portfolio in each country, as well as to share its perspective on the economic challenges and opportunities faced by Latin America.

IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias dedicated the afternoon of the first day of sessions to a broad and open dialogue with the Bolivian legislators about their concerns and proposals vis-a-vis the difficult economic and social situation.

“Much has been done, but it is not enough,” Iglesias said in an assessment of progress in Latin America. “Development is a more complex task than what we expected in previous decades; more than economic equations it is a great political and social adventure.”

Iglesias reiterated the IDB’s support for Bolivia, and he underlined the key role of legislatures and political parties in consolidating democracy and institutions. He also pointed out the important opportunity created by the broad diversity of political tendencies in the current Bolivian Congress.

“Development is growth, not for a few, but rather growth with social justice,” Iglesias said. “The social concerns are the essential reason for our efforts; it is necessary to grow to solve social problems.”

Participating Bolivian legislators, comprising almost a third of the deputies and senators of the country, represented the political spectrum in the Bolivian Congress, including six indigenous legislators and representatives from all the parties: Acción Democrática Nacionalista, Movimiento al Socialismo, Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti, Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionario, Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario, Nueva Fuerza Republicana and Unión Cívica Solidaridad.

The IDB’s Deputy Manager for the Southern Cone, Luisa Rains, presented an overview of the Bank work in Bolivia and gave a detailed description of the characteristics, processes and operations of multilateral development organizations.

High-ranking IDB officials and experts analyzed the economic context of the region, the IDB’s role, comercial integration, constitutional reform processes and democratic governance, the role of legislatures in institutional reform, the budgeting process, and the importance of negotiation and consensus building.

The IDB in Bolivia

The IDB has sustained an intense process of dialogue with the new authorities and other sectors to determine the Bank’s country strategy for 2004-2007.

The strategy, which will be presented to the Board of Executive Directors for its approval, seeks to reduce poverty by helping the country overcome the obstacles to a higher and more equitable economic growth.

Proposed actions focus on three areas: improving state administration and transparency, increasing competitiveness and business development and raising the efficiency and coverage of basic services. Assistance to the country will include loans currently under execution and new operations.

The IDB is Bolivia’s main multilateral lending source and has been the institution that contributed the most to alleviating the country’s external debt. The Bank eliminated a total of  $868 million under the HIPC initiative of debt reduction for highly indebted poor countries, equivalent to 36 percent of total alleviation resources.


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