Latin America has enjoyed almost a decade of continual and more inclusive growth. Now the region has arrived at a crossroads, both in the face of global developments and regional transformations. On the one hand, growth rates are stalling, aggravated by external macroeconomic pressures, falling commodity prices and a low savings rate in various countries. This may put social gains at risk and result in political discontent. On the other hand, the region is entering a new phase of international trade and witnessing historic political milestones that will have regional and global impact. With a bold leadership and partnership agenda, these transformations can be actively and strategically shaped. Driven by economic diversification and innovation, built on stable and trusted public institutions and policies, Latin America can build on its strengths and resources.
Public-private collaboration will play a crucial role in mobilizing those strengths and making big strides in areas such as infrastructure investment, productivity growth and human capital. Addressing these challenges will allow the region to be a proactive agent in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The World Economic Forum on Latin America brings together leaders from all sectors, as well as academic thought leaders and millennials, to explore how a new prosperity agenda can be actively shaped. Returning to Colombia and hosted in the city of Medellín, the meeting gathers at a remarkable place and time: Medellín’s transformation over the past two decades is a stark example of successful 21st-century urban innovation. At the same time, Colombia is close to a historic accord that promises opportunities for sustained peace, economic progress and social inclusion. These inspiring achievements teach valuable lessons and are a reminder that socio-economic advances require constant attention as well as concerted and strategic action.