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IDB Annual Meeting in Panama features top finance officials, specialists

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will hold its Annual Meeting in Panama City, Panama, March 14–17, bringing top economic leaders from its 48 member countries to discuss economic challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean, plus a wide range of other issues, from biodiversity and broadband availability to logistics and infrastructure needs.

Around 3,000 representatives of other multilateral financial institutions, development agencies, commercial banks, companies and civil society organizations will also attend the gathering. The event marks the 54th annual meeting of the IDB’s Board of Governors, the Bank’s top decision-making body made up mainly of finance ministers and central bank presidents, including Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray and Brazilian Planning Minister Miriam Belchior.

Reports to be issued include the IDB’s annual macroeconomic assessment, the Development Effectiveness Overview, the Annual Report, and the Sustainability Report.

Prior to the Board meeting, the IDB will hold a series of seminars on key development topics. One seminar will look at the need to aggressively expand the availability of broadband connections for Latin America and the Caribbean, to make the region more competitive on the global marketplace. The panel will feature senior executives from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and Telefonica.

Another seminar will note the region’s extraordinary biodiversity—it possesses one-sixth of the world’s landmass but 40 percent of the world’s biodiversity and half of the globe’s tropical forests—and how this wealth can be an engine for growth and innovation. Panelists include Stanley Motta, chairman of the board of Copa Holdings S.A. and member of the Nature Conservancy’s Latin America Conservation Council; and Naoko Ishii, the head of the UN’s Global Environment Facility (GEF).

In addition, a logistics seminar will analyze how Latin America can close the “logistics gap” with developed nations, and seize the opportunities presented by the Panama Canal expansion – financed in part by a non-sovereign guaranteed loan from the IDB. Speakers include Surse Pierpoint of Colon Import and Export and Alejandro Palacios, SVP Business Strategy & Performance Management for the Americas, DHL Global Forwarding.

Another panel will highlight the role public-private partnerships play in improving the health conditions among the neediest populations in the region. The discussion will focus on Salud Mesoamérica 2015 (SM2015), an alliance of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud, the government of Spain, and the IDB. Bill Gates and Carlos Slim are expected to make for the first time a joint video intervention, and the panel will also feature Alicia Bárcena, the executive secretary of the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), The SM2015 initiative was created to support governments in reducing the health equity gap faced by those living in extreme poverty, especially women and children under five years of age.

There will be three private sector seminars. One is on the future of public-private partnerships as new models emerge to meet the needs of provinces and municipalities in areas such as healthcare and education. Another seminar will look at the importance of women entrepreneurs and the need for more seed financing and support networks for new businesses founded by women. The third private sector seminar will discuss successful base-of-the-pyramid business models and how these can be replicated and scaled up.

On March 14, specialists from throughout the region will examine the role young people play in promoting social innovation for development. The event will feature Panama’s education minister Lucy Molinar; Tony Wagner, of the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University; and the renowned Argentine neuroscientist Estanislao Bachrach. Also featured are presentations by young social innovators, including Juan David Aristizabal Ospina, of the Colombian online social and cultural platform Buena Nota, and Carolina Araoz, founder of the music initiative Jazz Jaus. The renown Panamanian artist and Grammy Award winner, Danilo Perez will close the seminar with a presentation on how culture and music serve as a tool to promote social innovation and development.

The community event on March 14 is aimed showing the renovation of the Virgen de Guadalupe primary school and the community park and indoor soccer court in Las Garzas de Pacora neighborhood. It will feature Panama´s First Lady, Marta Linares de Martinelli; Education Minister, Lucy Molinar; and the Panamanian plastic artiest Olga Sinclair.

Members of the news media may register for the event at the Annual Meeting’s Website.

The twitter hashtag for the IDB’s Annual Meeting is #IDB2013.

The Inter-American Development Bank is Latin America’s leading multilateral source of funding and knowledge for development. Its mission is to combat poverty and inequality, and bring about sustainable growth.

Information on live transmissions

Live transmissions. The Bank will transmit live the seminars as well as the inaugural, plenary and closing sessions, on the IDB’s main web page. The IDB will also transmit on its main webpage the “Live Exprésate”, an interview space for noteworthy Annual Meeting participants. This program will be aired between 01:00 a 02:00 p.m. EST, March 14-17.

Broadcast quality video or digital platforms. TV or digital media journalists can download audiovisual materials of the meeting from our platform. You can register for our distribution list by contacting José Luis Lobera, audiovisual coordinator,

Satellite transmissions. Media organizations that wish to transmit unilaterally via satellite should contract “up-link” and “play out” content services and pay the supplier directly. For more information, please contact Diana Moss of Spark Media,