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President of Mexico receives praise at IDB from heades of Multilateral development institutions


Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León received a warm endorsement of his economic and social policies from the heads of the world's leading multilateral financial institutions during a ceremony at the Inter-American Development Bank attended by more than 350 members of the Inter-American community.

President Zedillo told the assembly that that he was "relatively optimistic" about the future of Latin America, because "democracy is now the rule, rather than the exception," and that economies were becoming more open and stable, allowing for higher growth rates and more social investment.

"To achieve social responsibility, fiscal responsibility is indispensable," he said. Higher growth rates allow a "growing amount of resources" for investments in education, health, nutrition, and other social areas, he added.

Zedillo noted that there have been "reactions" against globalization and trade liberalization, as illustrated by the disorders last year in Seattle during a meeting of the World Trade Organization.

"I want to once again emphatically say that those positions (against globalization) are wrong," Zedillo said. "A great development opportunity of our countries is precisely in participating in the (economic) opening, toward world currents of trade and investment.

"In reality, those who oppose additional trade liberalization are working not on behalf of, but against, the masses of the population who still live in poverty in our countries."

The president also praised the role of multilateral development institutions in assisting economic and social growth in Latin America, calling their financial support "a very good tool" for the region.

IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias praised the discipline and commitment of Mexico in overcoming the financial crisis of 1994-1995 as well as the economy's continued stability and growth, and he thanked Zedillo for leading "the most vigorous attack on poverty in Latin America" as exemplified by the social investments in the program Progresa.

Mexico's policies and performance have "become a point of reference for all our governments," Iglesias said.

World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn lauded Zedillo as "a great statesman and a great leader," who had led the country in achieving "growth with equity."

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Horst Köhler said that under Zedillo's leadership Mexico had demonstrated the benefits of "coherent macroeconomic policies and structural reform initiatives."


Mexico is the third largest borrower from the IDB, which has loaned the country cumulatively nearly $13 billion for projects with a total cost of $36.3 billion.

IDB loan operations planned for this year are designed to help consolidate financial sector reform and to support small business, labor market development, and energy infrastructure, as well as other projects.

On May 10 the Bank approved $36 million in financing to support the Energia Azteca natural gas power project in San Luis de la Paz, in the state of Guanajuato.

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