The only way Latin America can overcome 25 years of low economic growth is through technological innovation, says José Luis Machinea, an economist from Argentina who is president of the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal).
Speaking at the annual meeting of Interamerican Development Bank governors, Machinea declared: "We have made progress in the region and Brazil is a good example of what is positive. It invests 1% of GDP in technology, while the average for all of Latin America is 0.5% of GDP. Clearly we have to invest more, reinforce our efforts and get more participation from universities and research centers."
Jose Miguel Insulza, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, said that the problem of IDB debt among the poor countries in the region was due to political instability.
He pointed out that out of the five countries seeking debt pardon, only Nicaragua has not had a recent political crisis (the other countries are Bolivia, Haiti, Honduras and Guyana).
He added that the high levels of poverty in those countries was directly related to "a lack of governmental structures."
Insulza recommended that governments stop trying to control the judicial branch and permit greater liberty of the press.
The president of the Interamerican Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, speaking at the opening of the annual meeting of the governors at the Palácio das Artes, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, declared that the institution would seek to assist Latin America and the Caribbean in its efforts to be more competitive on world markets.
He said that the bank would try to approve and release loans faster. "Unfortunately there is no silver bullet, no magic, no miracles. Development is a process of trial and error. Naturally there are some things that must be done. And, in general, we know what they are."
Moreno said the region was one of sharp contrasts. While exports had risen 59% in the last three years, there were still 68 million Latin Americans who did not have potable water.