Business and governmental leaders, non-governmental representatives and impressive young minds came together digitally on December 3 in the Concordia Summit in an effort to address problems in Latin America and the Western Hemisphere.
In the fifth annual Americas Summit, the issues facing this large region of the world were brought to light and potential solutions were sought. Opportunities for growth were discussed among a diverse set of panelists from many different countries across the world.
The Summit also provided important networking opportunities for all the participants, who represented governmental entities, the business world and environmental organizations, among others.
Speakers at the digital summit included Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS); Daniel Almeida, the Latin America and Caribbean Advocacy Advisor, CARE; and LEeonardo Álvarez Cordova, the General Director of Innovation, Services and Domestic Trade in the Mexican Economic Ministry.
US Senator Chris Coons from Delaware was also a participant, along with Ivan Duque Marquez, the President of the Republic of Colombia.
Matt Foster, the Director of Wildlands Priorities, Global Wildlife Conservation, spoke to the participants on ecological issues facing the region.
Mircea Geoana, the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, also took part, along with Nicholas Logothetis, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Concordia, and Matthew Swift, the
Co-Founder and CEO of Concordia.
The summit announced the “US Colombia Growth Initiative,” in which the Colombian Government and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will work closely with the support of the private sector to combat coca production in Colombia and strengthen the economy.
Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez commented “The relationship between Colombia and the United States has been a success story because it has been bipartisan, because it has been bicameral, and because it is based on shared principles.”
Pandemic hits Latin America hard
Participants in the Summit learned that unfortunately, Latin America is one of the globe’s worst-affected regions from this year’s Covid-19 pandemic, with strict lockdowns taking an unprecedented hit on the regional economy.
The IMF’s most recent Regional Economic Outlook for the Western Hemisphere projects a real GDP contraction of 8.1% in the region by the end of 2020. Recovery will ultimately be shaped by how the pandemic impacts external and domestic demand, and how the scars left by the crisis affect the region’s production capacity.
The Summit’s panel leaders maintained that policies should remain focused on containing the pandemic and cementing the recovery. Further fiscal support should be accompanied by explicit, legislated and clearly communicated commitments to consolidate and rebuild fiscal defenses over the medium term.
The 2020 Americas Summit explored the outlook for economic recovery and trade across the region at large, particularly identifying how financial regulation must address the enhancement of automatic stabilizers, social safety nets and access to health and education, all while preserving public investment.
Climate change and its effects are likely to be more significant over time, impacting sectors ranging from agriculture and water supply to energy and ecosystems. To combat global warming, many argue that renewable energy will have to replace fossil fuels, which requires overcoming many technical, economic, and political challenges.
Over recent decades, it has become evident that the Latin American region presents immense opportunity for investment in this sector, but there is still a long way to go. Discussions within this programming block at the Summit focused on the role of investors, policymakers, business leaders, and cross-sector stakeholders in advancing clean energy innovation by creating markets and encouraging the diffusion of new technologies across their economies.
DEMOCRACY & CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Summit participants concluded that democracy across Latin America is facing a number of deep challenges at the present time. Over recent months, demonstrations of discontent against local leadership have been witnessed throughout the region, evidenced by a wave of protests across the continent propelled by social media, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
Conversations taking place within this section of the Summit analyzed the political and social spectrum throughout Latin America and what is needed to effectively address inequality, refugee crises in key areas of the region, social unrest, and opportunity gaps from México all the way to Argentina.
TECHNOLOGY, DIGITAL INCLUSION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Over the past months, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly underscored the importance of technology and connectivity in today’s world, the Summit leaders pointed out. In an era of digital transformation, it is imperative that governments implement innovative solutions and leverage technological advances to achieve economic growth, success, and inclusivity.
Achieving connectivity throughout the region, giving support to entrepreneurs, and formalizing the economy through digital transformation should be integral to the priorities and approach of local leaders, according to the participants. Conversations at the Summit addressed the role of technology within the context of Covid-19 and its influence on economic recovery and job creation.
— Concordia (@ConcordiaSummit) December 3, 2020