Thursday, March 23, 2023

Greater integration or clean energy, growth engines for Latin America

Greater regional integration, the generation of clean energy taking advantage of abundant natural resources or the fight against corruption can be engines for growth in Latin America, according to what the rulers of several countries on the continent pointed out this Wednesday in Davos.

In the panel “Leadership for Latin America” ​​held today at the Davos Forum, the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, spoke of the potential that Latin America has to generate clean energy in the global fight against the climate crisis.

His colleague from Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, referred to the fight against corruption in order to invest in the social sphere and the one from Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, to the measures to improve the investment climate.

The Brazilian Finance Minister, Fernando Haddad, called for true regional integration and for making the American continent “a world center for the production of clean energy” and the Vice President of the Dominican Republic, Raquel Peña, explained that her country pays special attention to the SMEs, which contribute significantly to economic growth.

“In South America we have two great potentials in relation to the climate crisis, to help manage this global problem, and it involves the region’s ability to generate clean energy and protect the Amazon,” Petro said.

Petro highlighted the ability of all the countries in the area to “generate clean energy, which is very difficult in Europe, which is very difficult in the United States.”

“We could perfectly, if we build an American electrical network from Patagonia to Alaska (USA), in a certain way sell our clean energy potential to help the United States change its energy matrix, which is the first element for a solution of the crisis”, he broke down.

“We would go from a matrix focused on oil and coal… to a matrix of foreign investments focused on the construction of clean energy in South America, with a guaranteed market,” he said.

The transformation would also imply moving away from an extractivist economy towards a productive economy, he added.

Lasso, in turn, highlighted his government’s fight against corruption and also vaccination as the fundamental aspects that have allowed his country’s economy to advance after the crisis aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic.

“I always said that controlling the pandemic was part of an economic plan for Ecuador,” he said. And he pointed out that, in 2021, “the first post-pandemic year or part of the pandemic, we achieved economic growth of 4.2%. In the year 2022, we put public finances in order.”

“The fight against corruption, control of public finances, public spending, avoiding waste generates resources to be able to invest in the social,” he said.

For his part, Chaves indicated that Costa Rica has worked to improve the investment climate and is working on actions to expand this market.

As part of his strategy to integrate into Latin America, he stated that he will sign a free trade agreement with the president of Ecuador after months of negotiation and that Costa Rica also seeks to be part of the Pacific Alliance.

In the absence of the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in Davos, his Finance Minister Haddad advocated true regional integration and making the American continent “a world center for the production of clean energy.”

He explained how Lula’s government style of increasing the relationship with the rest of the world managed, in his eight years of his first term, for Brazil to grow 8% when the world grew 2%.

Haddad supported Petro’s ideas on the generation of clean energy, from the sun, wind or green hydrogen, which – he said – although they have the limitation of being difficult to transport, it is also a potential that attracts companies that want to produce from clean energy ”.


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