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Remarks to Open Thematic Seminars

2024 IDB and IDB Invest Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors     
President Ilan Goldfajn

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic          
As prepared for delivery          

Distinguished Vice President Raquel Pena,          

Distinguished Governors and Heads of Delegation,          

Members of the Delegations,         

Executive Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank and IDB Invest,          

Senior Management of the IDB Group, 


¡Buenas tardes! Gracias por acompañarnos en la apertura de los seminarios de las reuniones anuales del BID y BID Invest

Primero, quisiera darle una bienvenida especial a la vicepresidenta Raquel Peña por estar hoy con nosotros y darnos el honor de inaugurar los seminarios con nosotros.

Agradezco a la República Dominicana por ser anfitriona de esta histórica reunión anual en la hermosa Punta Cana.

Espero que todos tengan la oportunidad de disfrutar de todo lo que Punta Cana y la extraordinaria República Dominicana tienen que ofrecer.

If you allow me, I would like to switch to English.  

It’s not an exaggeration that this annual meeting truly is historic. It will be remembered for years, as the annual meeting that changed the IDB Group, and potentially, the region.   

For the first time ever, we’re proposing three simultaneous transformational changes that could reshape the IDB Group into a bigger, better, more impactful institution.

So, what are those transformational changes?

  • A new Institutional Strategy could increase the impact and scale of our work, focusing it on poverty and inequality, boosting economic growth, and addressing climate change.
  • A new vision, business model, and capitalization for IDB Invest would give it much greater investment power to unlock private-sector growth.
  • And a new vision and model for IDB Lab, our innovation laboratory, including its replenishment and a new sustainable model, would allow it to triple the resources it mobilizes per dollar deployed and to scale up 40% of its projects.

Before previewing the seminars, let me spend a moment talking about some of the challenges and opportunities for the region.  

The region faces a triple challenge:

  • Rising social demands—people are impatient for change
  • A lack of resources to meet those demands
  • Low growth make it harder to generate resources

All this, in addition to suffering from the increasingly frequent impact of climate change.

But the region also has great potential to help solve some of our biggest shared global challenges.

Our meeting is taking place at a potential inflection point in the region's history.

For decades, LAC has been viewed through the lens of its needs—its need for financing, its need for investments. . But today, the world also needs LAC. That’s because of the region’s potential to being part of the solution to global challenges like climate change.

Three examples:        
1.    Nature and Biodiversity: The Amazon Rainforest

  • It absorbs 1/4 of all the CO2 absorbed by all land on earth, mitigating climate change for the whole world.

2.    Clean energy  

  • Today, almost 30% of LAC’s energy comes from renewable sources, double the world average. 
  • LAC is also home to 2/3 of world’s lithium and 38% of its copper, crucial to the green transition.

3.    Food security. LAC produces enough food to feed 1.3 billion people. 

In sum, with the right reforms and investment, the region could be at the center of the effort to protect the world’s biodiversity, provide it with clean energy, and alleviate global food insecurity.

So, the question is how can we at the IDB, as the partner of the region and bridge between LAC and the world, help the region seize these opportunities?

One aspect is being strategically selective about the priority areas we focus on when investing in the region.

This is a key aspect of the new Institutional Strategy, Strategic Selectivity, meaning that we’ll focus like a laser on the areas that are most important to the region’s future.

So, we’ve also carefully selected seminar topics related to the priority areas laid out in the institutional strategy—reducing poverty & inequality, boosting sustainable growth, and addressing climate change.

On climate change and clean energy, we have several sessions:

One session, ''Opportunities for Shaping the Future: Accelerating the Energy Transition in Latin America and the Caribbean,” focuses on mobilizing private impact investment into the energy sector.

While many countries in the region are moving toward renewable energy, but it's not all smooth sailing. In this session, we’ll share valuable insights from the International Energy Agency's groundbreaking Latin America and the Caribbean Energy Outlook report.

The conversation will delve into the complexities of the energy transition and help us develop a path for advancing the clean energy transition, which is key to tackling climate change.

We’ll also hold a session on "Unleashing Financial Innovation for Climate Change,” which is a key priority for the IDB.

The IDB group has been at the forefront of designing new financial instruments including Debt-for-Nature Swaps, Currency Hedge Solutions, IDB CLIMA, and IDB Invest solutions, such as lending in domestic currency.

The panel will cover green financing and the recent impact of financial innovation. It will feature high-level officials from LAC showcasing the application of different financial instruments.

It will also focus on how the IDB is helping countries address climate change, and how we’ll scale up this work.

We’ll also hold several sessions on reducing poverty and inequality. One session, "Learning Can’t Wait: The Urgency of Accelerating Investments and Results in Education" will focus on the urgent need for more resources for quality education.

In this session, we‘ll dive into the PISA results and what they mean for LAC. We’ll also release our new joint report with the World Bank that analyzes these results even further.

We’ll then discuss how the IDB can help tackle our region's learning crisis and how we can implement innovative financing strategies for smart spending in education.

We also have a seminar on "Confronting Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean.''

We recently launched the Latin America and Caribbean Inequality Review, a groundbreaking study with the London School of Economics, Yale, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies to do groundbreaking research on inequality. The study includes over 60 leading social scientists working on the problem and proposing solutions.

We’ve learned a lot about inequality and this session will focus on how we can tackle it better and, ultimately, help reduce both poverty and inequality in LAC.

Another focus is on boosting sustainable growth.

Stability and rule of law are essential to foster more investment and productivity growth.

Citizen security has become a key regional malaise.

So, we organized a seminar, “Ensuring Citizen Security: Strategies for Safer Societies,’' that focuses on tackling crime and violence, which limits economic growth.

A panel of experts will discuss magnitude of crime in the region. And, the IDB will showcase our security and justice agenda to countries address the challenge.

Finally, to increase the impact and scale of our work, we’ll also take a deep dive on the major reforms we’re proposing for IDB Invest and IDB Lab.

The private sector-oriented parts of the IDB Group—IDB Lab and IDB Invest—are renewing their business models in their ability to mobilize investment on a greater scale with greater impact.

IDB Invest could double its size in a few years.

Importantly, it would evolve into an originate-to-share business model, with the capacity to further scale the impact of its operations. and mobilize more investment in the region while redistributing risk.

For its part, IDB Lab could become a greater innovation hub for inclusion capable of aggregating different actors, resources, connections, and knowledge to close early-stage innovation gaps in sectors with high development impact.

I encourage you all to attend the session on these important reforms. It’s called “Originating to Share/Innovating to Mobilize,” and it focuses on how both organizations can increase the scale and impact of our work by mobilizing much more private-sector capital.

These are just a few of the sessions we will hold over the next few days to showcase how we can advance in the strategically-selected priority areas I mentioned.

As you can see, they are very substantive sessions about the most critical challenges—and opportunities—facing our region.

These are seminars worthy of such a historic annual meeting and key to increasing the scale and impact of our work.

I hope you’ll be inspired by these sessions and hope you’ll come away with new ideas about how we can work better together to improve lives in LAC.

Thank you.

About the IDB Group

The IDB Group is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. We contribute to improving lives by providing financial solutions and development expertise to public- and private-sector clients. The Group comprises the IDB, which has worked with governments for more than 60 years; IDB Invest, which serves the private sector; and IDB Lab, which tests innovative ways to enable more inclusive growth. 

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