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Davos 2022: Latin America's path to a resilient economic recovery

The Davos 2022 Latin America Presidential Panel gathered political leaders Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona, President of the Dominican Republic, Rodrigo Chaves Robles, President of Costa Rica, and Dina Ercilia Boluarte, Vice-President and Minister of Development and Social Inclusion of Peru.

The Davos 2022 Latin America Presidential Panel session brought together political leaders from the region who emphasized that economic reactivation has involved measures to stimulate job creation, social well-being, and a green agenda. Image: World Economic Forum/ Valeriano

Laura Beltran
Digital Media Specialist, World Economic Forum
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Latin America

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

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  • The Davos 2022 Latin America Presidential Panel session brought together political leaders Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona, President of the Dominican Republic, Rodrigo Chaves Robles, President of Costa Rica, and Dina Ercilia Boluarte, Vice-President and Minister of Development and Social Inclusion of Peru.
  • Panelists emphasized that economic reactivation has involved measures to stimulate job creation, social well-being, and a green agenda.
  • Watch the full session here.

Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, climate change, and the war in Ukraine, Latin American political leaders came together on a Davos panel to discuss how their countries will tackle these pressing issues, as well as their efforts to implement long-lasting solutions that benefit people and planet.

Latin America's economic reactivation

As in many parts of the world, the region is working hard to overcome the effect of COVID-19 on the economy. The Dominican Republic's tourism-based economy represents between 16-18% of the country's GDP and 20% of jobs in the country, said President Luis Rodolfo Abinader. Therefore, the government had to focus on investing in people's health first to be able to bring tourism back to life.

"We found that if we didn't recover tourism, we could not recover the Dominican Republic’s economy. And to recover tourism, we had to recover health."

Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona, President of the Dominican Republic, at Davos 2022.
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For Peru, economic growth in 2021 was positive and strong, registering a 13.5 point increase, said Dina Ercilia Boluarte, Vice-President and Minister of Development and Social Inclusion. Peru's leadership has been focused on digitalization as a means to a more effective and efficient economic recovery, alongside efforts to attract environmentally-conscious investors, working closely with the private sector to generate employment, and tackling labour informality.

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President Ivan Duque, amongst other initiatives, said that improving access to formal employment for young people has helped to boost the economic recovery in Colombia. With unemployment growing during the pandemic, the country decided to subsidize 25% of the minimum wage to companies employing young adults between 18-28 years old. So far, the measure has benefited around 400,000 young people.

The energy transition

Latin America is home to a large part of the world's biodiversity, much of which is threatened by climate change. President Duque explained that 50% of his country is rainforest, while the Amazon occupies 35% of its land. For that reason, he considers it a responsibility to set ambitious goals and implement urgent action towards net-zero by 2050.

“Resilience means turning adversity into opportunity”

Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, at Davos 2022.

For example, the country is looking to declare 30% of its territory as a protected area in 2022, has engaged hundreds of private sector players and consumers in a green agenda, and is making restless efforts on green mobility. These are steps that, in his view, show that resilience is about turning adversity into opportunity.

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After only 15 days in office, Rodrigo Chavez, President of Costa Rica, said that his country will be focusing on measures that tackle river pollution, sanitation, waste management, and the renewable energy transition. Costa Rica became a member of the OECD only a year ago, and the President said that he is committed to strengthening human capital with education, health and public security as top priorities, with rebuilding with climate-adaptation at the core of his country's development.

"We can't sacrifice the future for economic gain"

Rodrigo Chaves Robles, President of Costa Rica, at Davos 2022.
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Finally, President Abinader Corona added that, despite not being a significant carbon emitter, climate change puts the Latin American country, the Dominican Republic among the 10% most vulnerable countries to climate-related risks. With this in mind, new generations in his country are pushing for environmentally-conscious business models and measures. He said that young people, like his own daughters, refuse to buy from places that use plastic. This growing awareness is seen in the growing trends of eco-tourism, reforestation, and the rehabilitation of the land that has suffered from over-tourism.

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World Economic Forum

May 21, 2024

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