The IDB, a partner of Colombia in development

March 17, 2009
Since the mid-1990s the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has been the leading source of multilateral financing for Colombia. Over the last 50 years, the IDB has approved more than US$14.8 billion in loans and non-refundable technical cooperation projects for Colombia. Throughout its history, the IDB has supported the Colombian government and private sector in key development areas such as infrastructure, state modernization and reform, small and medium enterprise, agriculture, energy, climate change and environmental protection.

Venture capital for low-income markets

February 26, 2009
Investing in housing, healthcare, education, basic utilities and nutrition can not only fulfill a social mission, but it can also be a profitable business venture. This is the concept of IGNIA Fund, which will channel venture capital resources to fund commercially viable growth companies serving the “base of the pyramid,” those persons in Latin America and the Caribbean earning less than $3,260 a year. The IGNIA Fund selects projects with the potential to be expanded on a larger scale, thereby increasing the social and economic impact.

Acting smart when income grows

March 27, 2008
The expansive economic cycle in Latin America rests largely on the rise of key commodity prices, but experience suggests caution in thriving years.

The Big Bad Wolf?

December 20, 2007
By Diego Fonseca   While Central America is nervous about CAFTA, the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) has rattled countries with large economies, such as Brazil and Argentina. And although the most recent negotiations, in late 2003 and early 2004, didn’t produce agreement on major issues such as agricultural subsidies, government procurement and intellectual property rights, January 1, 2005, continues to be the apparent date for the birth of the FTAA, which may, like beer, come in a robust version or a “lite” version.

A slimmer bottle leads to fatter profits

June 01, 2007
Small business owner Miguel Maccagno sits in his factory office in the low-income neighborhood of Matanza outside Buenos Aires, examining identical-looking plastic bottles for the juice drinks his plant produces and pondering their impact on its competitiveness. By shaving 14 grams off the bottles' weight, he can lower costs enough for his firm, Agroindustrias Río Tercero, to compete with the large U.S., Brazilian and Chilean firms that have cornered the low end of the local market.

Latin America moves ahead despite external threats

October 31, 2005
Many fear the possibility of interest rate hikes and a global recession if the “Chinese addiction” to buying dollars comes to an end, expressed the IDB Chief Economist, Guillermo Calvo. But the seven largest economies in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, also known as the LAC-7) are currently growing fast. Stock prices went up 174% in the past two years, bank credit and foreign investment are increasing, and commodity prices have also enjoyed a boost.

The training conundrum

April 14, 2005
For small companies to compete against bigger ones, they must invest in human capital, says Félix Mitnik, coordinator of a project for supply chain development in Cordoba, Argentina, financed by the IDB's Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). But the project, designed to increase the levels of productivity and competitiveness in small companies, revealed that they themselves invest little in training. Are they acting against their own interests then?

A marriage of convenience

March 24, 2005
The global market economy, now embracing over 5 billion people, is ready for a marriage between Latin America and Japan, according to Makoto Utsumi, President and CEO of the Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd.

The double-edged sword of currency mismatches

November 04, 2004
Doing business in dollars has proved to be risky many times over in Latin America. When the price of the dollar goes up, local exporting companies increase their income and therefore try to export more. But that same exchange rate depreciation spells trouble to all companies indebted in dollars, and big trouble to the ones who owe money in dollars and have income in local currency.

Mexico – EU Free Trade Area opens doors to foreign trade for Latin America

July 30, 2004
The Mexico-European Union Free Trade Agreement, the first such accord between Europe and a country in the Americas, is celebrating its fourth anniversary and 27% growth in bilateral trade volume. (1) However, long-term benefits are not easily measured. The reported effective growth rates - 19% for Mexican exports to the European Union, and 30% for EU exports to Mexico – is considered relatively low compared with Mexico’s 18% increase in exports worldwide.