Trade Expo organized by the Inter-American Development Bank and Latin Trade Group in Miami
Hundreds of representatives of Latin American and Caribbean construction, engineering and logistics firms gathered Sept 3 for the “Trade Americas & ConnectAmericas Expo: Building the Americas,” to explore opportunities for new business as the public and private sectors throughout the region ramp up their infrastructure investment.
With countries spending around 2.5 percent of GDP on infrastructure, there is a potential pipeline of $1.5 trillion in projects expected over the next decade, and that has attracted the interest of investors and international developers. The Miami event, organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Latin Trade Group, featured presentations by regional experts on planned investment in energy, transportation, logistics, and urban infrastructure.
“The private sector is stepping up in a big way to finance and build vital infrastructure throughout the Americas, in cooperation with the region’s governments,” said Bernardo Guillamon, manager of the IDB’s Office of Outreach and Partnerships. “It’s essential for companies to have the latest information on projects, partners and suppliers.”
At the conference, the IDB introduced a new online Infrastructure Community where businesses can connect with potential clients, suppliers and investors around the world, obtain training to help them join international supply chains, and identify the best sources of financing. The Infrastructure Community is part of ConnectAmericas.com, an innovative social media business platform launched in March by the IDB.
The site, which is free of charge for registered members, aims to benefit small and medium-size companies (SMEs) that are well qualified to be suppliers or service providers but are not on the radar screen of big international infrastructure developers and investors. This includes such companies as construction material suppliers, machinery maintenance and repair, transportation, security services, and even software design and engineering firms. Many of them lack certain skills and certifications that international developers and investors may require.
“Everyone is doing business and networking online these days, and infrastructure companies are no exception. ConnectAmericas' new Infrastructure Community is a great vehicle that will facilitate solutions for them and help boost business opportunities for all the players involved,” said Fabrizio Opertti, chief of the IDB’s Trade and Investment Unit.
The ConnectAmericas Infrastructure Community will publish information about infrastructure tenders in the region, and attach to each tender a list of local partners and providers. For each of these local companies, the platform will provide contact information, a detailed description of the goods and services it offers, and ratings and reviews from previous clients.