5 June 2015

The 7th edition of the International Economic Forum on Latin America and the Caribbean provides the opportunity to discuss challenges and to share solutions regarding sustainable economic development in the region. The economic slowdown that began in Latin America in 2010 is continuing. According to preliminary data, the region’s economy grew slightly over 1% in 2014 (compared with 2.5% in 2013 and 2.9% in 2012), less than the OECD average for the first time in ten years. In 2015, growth is expected to reach a feeble 1%. These developments will be driven by the less favourable international climate of the past five years, due to lower commodity prices (especially for oil, metals and minerals), and the economic slowdown in China. Also of note is the rising cost of external financing and more restrained capital inflow prospects due to the tightening of US monetary policy.

Education, skills and innovation are key areas to enable more Latin American countries to escape the middle-income trap and strengthen the region’s emerging middle class. Improvements to the stock and quality of education and skills, together with a stable macroeconomic context and an innovation-friendly environment, determine countries’ capacity to direct their growth models towards higher value-added activities. Investment in human capital drives long-term economic growth and is an essential part of any inclusive-growth strategy. It is therefore necessary to improve equality of opportunity and social mobility by limiting the effect of people’s socio-economic background and informal employment on their access to high-quality education at all levels. Efforts to improve education and skills will only raise labour productivity, create high-quality jobs and reduce the size of the informal economy if they are supported by greater innovation. After debating on the appropriate reforms for a sustainable growth model in the region, the Forum will ask how governments can promote innovation, and offer suitable education for a better skilled labour force.

Key issues on the 2015 Forum agenda


Economic outlook and future prospects for Latin America and the Caribbean

  • How do the region’s growth prospects for 2015 compare with OECD countries, as well as other emerging economies and regions? How do the less favourable external scenario, the flattering commodity prices and the tapering of the American Federal reserve affect the region’s economic outlook?
  • How can the region move forward a commodity-driven growth, to a more diversified, competitive, inclusive and sustainable growth model?
  • What are the necessary reforms to escape the middle-income trap?

Innovation, education and skills at the core of a new-fangled growth model

  • What are the measures governments can promote to strengthen education, skills and innovation and ensure higher growth potential and higher productivity by improving workers’ skills?
  • What role the private sector could play in the acquisition of the skilled labour force it needs?
  • What policies are needed to foster innovation, and in particular research and development expenditures in the region?
  • What are the lessons learned from the successes and failures?

Environmental and climate issues as levers for sustainable growth

  • From the Lima COP20 in Lima to the Paris COP21 in 2015, what are the goals for growth more respectful of people and the environment?
  • Latin America has the best energy with renewable energy mix in the world. What can we learn from their experiences, to better plan and coordinate global efforts in this area?


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