Harnessing volcanoes’ energy in Nicaragua

March 09, 2011
Sitting on top of a chain of volcanoes, Nicaragua is the ideal candidate to exploit geothermal energy sources. Ironically, though, the country depends on oil and coal for its electricity even as it struggles to keep up with energy demand. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aims to change that through the San Jacinto-Tizate Geothermal Power Project.

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.

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.

A hand up for small and medium-sized businesses in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic

January 26, 2007
The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, will launch FINPYME (Financiación Innovadora de PYME), an innovative program for financing small and medium-size companies, in five Central American countries, Panama, and the Dominican Republic starting February 1. The initiative seeks to improve access to financing for smaller companies

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?

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.

Profile of the young Latin American entrepreneur

July 26, 2004
They belong to the middle class, have university degrees and on average begin to think about being entrepreneurs at 25, but they do not open their first company until about 5 years later. These are the characteristics that define the young Latin American entrepreneurs, according to a recent study by the Inter-American Development Bank that is the subject of the book Desarrollo Emprendedor (published in Spanish and available in English in the fall).