We've made some changes

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
The winds of renewal blowing across Latin America have also rustled the pages of the IDB's monthly magazine. We have a new name, a new design, and a rejuvenated mission.First the name. Our old moniker, THE IDB, implied that this is a publication about an institution, whereas it is really about Latin America and the Caribbean and the complex currents that are reshaping its societies. Second, the design. We think it's cleaner, more active, and more clearly focused. Busy readers should find it easier to home in on what interests them most. And finally, the mission.

Mercosur: what comes next?

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
Judged on the basis of trade figures, Mercosur has been an undeniable success. In less than a decade, the trade bloc made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay has turned itself into the world's fourth largest market, after NAFTA, the European Union and Japan. In six years, intra-Mercosur trade has more than quadrupled, from $4.1 billion in 1990 to $16.9 billion in 1996.

Going digital

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
Ask communal farmers in Chincheros, Perú, about the meaning of the information revolution, and they'll tell you about the price of potatoes. A few years ago, the typical 50-member farming cooperative in this area near Cuzco took in around $113 per month selling potatoes, chiles and other produce at the Chincheros market.

Internet for the people

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
José Soriano is certain that at some point in the next millennium the Internet will be available to Latin Americans of all classes at a price they can afford. But he's not willing to wait that long. In the short term, this journalist, telecommunications expert and current general manager of the Peruvian Scientific Network/Internet Peru (RCP ) is pushing a novel way to bring the Internet to low-income users in underdeveloped areas, at an acceptable cost.

Digital ventures attract funding

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
Several major investment projects that will extend the benefits of Latin America's nascent information infrastructure to less advantaged populations were announced at September's Informatics 2000 Conference. The IDB and Worldtel, Ltd., a company that structures and funds telecommunications projects in emerging markets, said they will work with the Red Científica Peruana to develop 1,000 community information service centers in a deal valued at $125 million (see article "Internet for the people" in this issue).

Who is building the data highways?

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
It took two centuries to build the roads, rail lines and seaports that form the backbone of Latin America's commercial infrastructure. By comparison, the region's information infrastructure seems to have appeared overnight. Just 10 years ago, personal computers (PCS), modems, and--most significantly--the Internet, were practically unknown in Latin America.

Combatting a hidden scourge

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
Corruption. Ten years ago the word was rarely spoken in public, and even the news media handled the subject with kid gloves. But last September, hundreds of government officials, scholars, and civil society representatives from 90 countries met in Lima, Perú, to engage in candid debates on what participants described as one of the most urgent threats to democracy in the countries of the developing world.

Felipe Herrera's enduring vision

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
When Chilean economist Felipe Herrera proposed 36 years ago that the fledgling Inter-American Development Bank finance social development projects, many regarded such a notion as questionable, or even ill advised. But the first president of the IDB was determined to prove that programs to improve education, health and sanitation were indeed "bankable." He succeeded, and today, advances in improving the lives of millions of ordinary people are among the proudest accomplishments not only of the IDB, but of international financial institutions around the world.

Debt relief for Bolivia

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
he IDB has agreed to participate in a plan to reduce Bolivia's external debt as part of an international initiative granting debt relief to poor countries that have proven their commitment to sound economic policy. The September 12 announcement by the Committee of the IDB's Board of Governors was made in the same week that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced their debt relief plans.

Panama's canal countdown

Saturday, November 1, 1997 - 03:00
Panama is counting on massive foreign investment to turn the 94,000 hectares along the Panama Canal into a dynamic swath of industrial complexes, maritime services, communication infrastructure and tourism facilities after the United States transfers the area to Panama at the close of 1999.