“This conference presents a timely opportunity to examine the current pressure points and to discuss policies to support quality growth and financial stability in the entire region,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in opening remarks. “At this critical moment, it is more important than ever to foster growth that is inclusive, balanced, and sustainable,” she noted.
“Sustainable development and inclusive welfare should not work against each other but should be dovetailed,” added Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. During the past two decades, Latin America doubled its per capita income and greatly reduced poverty, Bachelet said, but she pointed out that the “structure of our development still faces pending tasks.”
Changes in global and regional economic conditions, social progress in Latin America and its implications for economic policy—as well as the potential role of region-wide solutions to address long-standing problems—were key topics discussed at the two-day conference “Challenges for Securing Growth and Shared Prosperity in Latin America” in Santiago, Chile. The conference is part of a series of IMF-related events in Latin America in preparation for the 2015 IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Lima, Peru.
The December 5-6 conference, jointly sponsored by the IMF and the Finance Ministry of Chile, brought together over 500 people from 30 countries, and included leaders, policymakers, prominent academics, opinion leaders, financial sector executives, and civil society representatives to discuss economic approaches to strengthen the entire region.
The future of the region
Over the past 15 years, most countries in Latin America have become stronger, with significant advances in reducing poverty and inequality. However, in many places, the provision of public goods and services is not adequate to meet the needs of the growing middle class. Conference participants examined the main social and economic challenges facing the region, and looked at ways that economic policy can boost potential output and advance employment growth and social progress more widely.
Noting that Latin America has a greater number of young people compared with other regions, Alberto Arenas, Minister of Finance of Chile, pointed out that...