Brazil and Chile Agree: Education is Priority Number 1 in LatAm

Brazilian President Lula and his Chilean colleague Bachelet Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet called for deeper regional integration and increased investment in education, two priorities that mirrored a consensus among the 400 business, government and civil society leaders from 28 countries participating in the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Santiago.

"It is important that you believe in the integration of Latin America," Lula said. Bachelet underlined that for Chile and other Latin American nations to reach a higher level of growth and productivity, "the priority is to take a great leap to ensure quality education for all", adding "we want to grow to be inclusive and be inclusive to grow".

Participants at the two days World Economic Forum on Latin America agreed on five top priorities for the region geared to for achieving and sustaining higher growth and productivity. The "Santiago Consensus" includes education, the environment, R&D investment, efficient taxes and infrastructure.

In recent years, countries in the region have been growing by over 5% on average and the incidence of poverty has fallen below 40%.

"It is not sufficient to bring growth back to our economies," said José C. Grubisich, CEO, Braskem, Brazil, and a Forum Co-Chair. "We should focus on how to bring about a stable macroeconomic position and combine growth and investment to reduce poverty."

Infrastructure is the key priority, said Grubisich. If Latin America is to secure its place in the global supply chain, it must invest in upgrading its infrastructure.

"If we want to be successful, we need to make it easier to move capital and products to and from the region and inside the region," he stressed.

More generally, the priority has to be to boost investment. "The question is how we may be able to invest more," said Andrés Velasco, Minister of Finance of Chile. "We have to have good sound projects. And we can agree that a major priority is to reduce the costs of investment."

This means reforming capital markets, ensuring that the banking system is sound, bringing interest rates down, and promoting innovation and venture capital. All of this will then drive new growth. "If we accept the idea that growing means to innovate, then to innovate means to be daring and to do something different," said Velasco.

Other panelists agreed that countries have to further reform their financial sectors to deepen capital markets, improve access to credit, and make sure that the region is not vulnerable to shocks.

"The familiar agenda of structural reforms to boost productivity is still essential," John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC, told participants.

He added that it is also important to achieve a measure of macroeconomic stability and to open up markets to trade. Chile is the best example of a country that has combined all three factors to achieve the highest per capita income growth in the region in the past 25 years.

For Martí­n P. Redrado, President of the Central Bank of Argentina, the main object of reforms must be to ensure that Latin America can weather shocks to its financial system and achieve fiscal order and macroeconomic stability.

"This is one of the biggest challenges – how to create permanent public policies that will make all cycles transitory, and how to mitigate the volatility that we have suffered in past years," he said.

Summing up, session Chair Pamela Cox, Vice-President, Latin America and the Caribbean, World Bank, Washington DC, outlined the key points of the emerging Santiago Consensus. She stressed the need to address inequality as the region aims to achieve and sustain higher growth. "We really need to build in social policies into the region."



  • Show Comments (5)

  • Osvaldo Coelho

    Dropped out Brazilian
    I dropped school, went to be a technicia, project engineer -with Siemens Germany for their overseas projects. I make more money than a PhD. I build cellluar networks around the world.
    We don;t have to make electronics tio compete with the chinese. Our future is to make ethanol. plant soya, make frozen orange juice, raise cows and chickens. The Asians will do eletrconics cheap cheap. Get USD and spend on food. Food that we will produce for them.
    And lets be honest: most of the jobs today can be done by a kid with secondary education.

  • Ric

    Until the twelfth of never…And thatÀ‚´s a long, long, time.

  • hhh1200

    As noted…Brazil will become a power when the kids in the favelas have the same opportunities as the kids in the condos and gated communities. They will grow when they stop trying to sell nonsense about the South is like Europe.

  • ch.c.

    Ohhhh….and by the way : in South Korea, 86,5 % have a University degree, compared to 10,5 % in Brazil !!!!
    Thus in my view, the country of the future is certainly not Brazil contrary to what Brazilians believe !

    No doubt Brazil will continue producing cheap basic food and basic commodities, and South Korean will produce ever more
    chips, semiconductors, flat TV panels, and South Korean cars.

    Ohhhh….by the way once more : what are the name of Brazilians car manufacturers, Brazilian semiconductors and chips companies ?????????

    I just remind you that 2 or 3 decades ago, South Korea…..Was Much Poorer And Less Developed……THAN BRAZIL !

  • ch.c.

    If you know that education is your priority…….
    ….why do you continue to spend so little ??????
    More idiot than Lula there is not !

    You could simply copy overall what other Developing Nations do !

    Brazilians should stop talking and start to act.

    Here is what Mailson da Nobrega, an ex Brazilian Finance Minister said in an interview on Nov. 9, 2005 :
    “What are the main problems facing the Brazilian economy?

    da Nobrega À¢€“The biggest problem is the structural deficit of the pension system which affects everything else. Over the last 18 years Brazil has tripled pension costs as a proportion of GDP – from 4% in 1987 to 12% in 2005, including pensions from the state INSS scheme and the public employeesÀ¢€™ scheme. There is no parallel anywhere else in the world. At the same time, the 1988 Constitution increased the links between the revenues and costs and the transfer of resources to the states and municipalities. The result is that when you add the interest rates account, these obligatory costs represent 33% of GDP. That is why today Brazil has a tax burden of 37% of GDP and spends 40% of GDP in the public sector. As our per capita income rules out collecting amounts of this size in any rational way, there has been a considerable deterioration in the tax system since 1988, leading to inefficiency, tax dodging and corruption.

    Increasing taxes has not been enough to resolve the problems of the higher public spending brought on by the Constitution. A part was financed by the dramatic reduction in investments by the federal government, which fell from 2.7% of GDP in 1987 to only 0.4% of GDP now. That explains the deterioration in the infrastructure. South Korea, for example, spends one-third of what it spends on education on pensions. In Brazil, the situation is the opposite, with pensions representing two and a half times the amount spent on education. There are other problems to be resolved but Brazil will not be able to achieve greater growth until the problem of the pensions is tackled. “

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