Lima, October 8, 2015-- Finance Ministers from the Americas and the Caribbean met today to exchange ideas on the challenges that the region faces amid an uncertain macroeconomic context, and to assess prospects for encouraging greater economic integration and regional cooperation.
The meeting took place at the start of the 2015 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, held on October 9 -11, for the first time in a Latin American country since 1967, when they took place in Rio de Janeiro.
Delegates from 21 countries were joined at the meeting by senior officials from multilateral organizations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The IDB acts as technical secretariat by supporting the preparation and overall coordination of the meetings. This Seventh Meeting of Finance Ministers from the Americas and the Caribbean was chaired by the Minister of Economy and Finance of Peru, Alonso Segura.
At the press conference, Minister Segura, the President of the IDB, Luis Alberto Moreno as well as the World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Familiar, stressed the need to make adjustments now that prices of raw materials have fallen, and growth in China is decelerating.“We discussed important issues to boost productivity such as investment in infrastructure through public private partnerships”, Segura said.
He also stressed the importance to take actions against labor informality, including adopting measures related to the labor market, and highlighted Peru’s progress in reducing poverty and inequality in recent years and increasing the ranks of the middle class.But he warned that in more complex times like these it is important to focus on social programs to "protect the most vulnerable."
“We know that strengthening our macroeconomic position is essential to getting back on the path to growth. That is why we need to make a socially intelligent adjustment, one that raises the quality of public spending and promotes social inclusion,” said Moreno.
World Bank Vice President Familiar said, "It is necessary that countries in the region adapt to the current economic environment," adding that the ministers recognized that “this needs to be done in a way that lays the foundations for future growth and protects the most vulnerable.”
Topics discussed included fiscal consolidation and long-term growth and global issues in growth and development. While developing countries contribute today almost 40 percent of global GDP, back in 1967 their contribution was only around a fourth of that. However, the deceleration in China and the fall of commodity prices have had an impact on the global outlook. Latin America and the Caribbean region, in particular, is experiencing an economic slowdown that is expected to result in near-zero growth this year.
Speakers at the gathering also included World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director, David Lipton, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. In addition, the President of the CAF Enrique García and the Executive Secretary of ECLAC Alicia Bárcena, participated in the meeting, along with other senior officials.