MADRID – Senior officials from international organizations and development banks discussed on Friday the future challenges facing Latin America and how it could overcome a pandemic that disproportionately affected the region.
In a virtual round-table organized by EFE during the World Economic Forum, a number of experts debated how the region could replicate a form of Marshall Plan or introduce a framework similar to the Next Generation EU, a fund set aside to help European nations overcome the pandemic.
Alejandro Werner, Director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund said: “Once the pandemic is over, the region will have to invest in infrastructure and climate change-oriented infrastructure, and also will have to strengthen its social security and education systems.”
Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, the World Bank’s vice president for the Latin America and Caribbean region, said the continent had to seek opportunities in the digital, green and innovation “revolutions.” Mauricio Claver-Carone, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, warned the region would need $150 billion just to cover the health costs of COVID-19, adding that, although accounting for just 8% of the world population, Latin America had recorded a third of global deaths form the disease.
Ibero-American secretary-general Rebeca Grynspan said the region would not emerge from the crisis alone and needed a social pact to move beyond the pandemic. Pablo Sanguinetti, VP of the CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, stated that new projects were needed to drive investment. The debate was moderated by EFE president Gabriela Cañas.