Inter-American Development Bank Meets in Medellín
What would happen if you called a major economic summit meeting in a city once notorious for its violence as a worldwide economic recession rages? As it turns out, an enormously important and successful summit, and a lot of changed opinions.
The 50th Annual Meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) took place this weekend in Medellín, Colombia. The “Medellin Model” (linked site is only in Spanish so far, but see the IDB statement on the Medellin Model exhibition that is on display during the meetings. As the LA Times has noted, the city is polished up to show its guests a wonderful time. The guests have returned the favor.
Headliner Bill Clinton spoke of priorities: “For the price of a necktie you could send a child to school for a year. Everything depends on your priorities.” He also acknowledged that no one is capable of saying when, or where, we will emerge from the crisis, but we will emerge, so long as we rely on long-term strategies and a healthy financial system, in addition to short-term stimulus. The former President’s conversation with IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno took place before a packed house of more than 2000 in the Metropolitan Theater. The locals, who call themselves “Paisas,” were thrilled.
China’s Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochouan acknowledged the uncertainty as to when the global financial crisis hits bottom and its link to when China’s economy will have hit bottom. He also said he is looking forward to seeing US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in Medellin on Sunday March 29. He also indicated firm support for multilateral institutions including the IDB. Zhou also foreshadowed his country’s anticipated G-20 Summit Meeting position in calling for greater regulatory reform. And he spoke of a huge potential for economic ties through substantial foreign direct investment in Latin America, particularly pharmaceuticals, software, aeronautics, and biological products. China is the region’s third largest trading partner, with trade having risen an annual average of 30% since 2001, according to Zhou, rising from $15Bn to $140Bn. Other headliners include Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Merton, whose talk emphasized using technology as a bridge to the economy of the future, and Intel Chairman Craig Barret.
Treasury Secretary Geithner and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe also spoke.
The IDB Newsroom includes headlines of stories worthy of further review and dissemination. For example, the BBVA bank group has financing from IDB unit IIC to fund the development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, or SMEs, in the region: “BBVA And The IIC, A Multilateral Finance Institution That Is A Member Of The IDB Group, Sign Agreement To Support Business Governance In South America”:
Medellín, Colombia – On March 27, 2009, BBVA and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), the only multilateral finance institution mandated to support and provide financing for SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean, signed a cooperation and technical assistance agreement for establishing targeted action areas to support the development of SMEs in the region.
This strategic partnership will enable the IIC to channel flows of funding, as well as nonfinancial value-added services, through BBVA South America to enterprises in the region. Nonfinancial services will consist primarily of performing diagnostic reviews of companies under the IIC’s FINPYME® program (www.FINPYME.org), promoting SME energy efficiency under the IIC’s GREENPYME program, and fostering good governance practices among family-owned companies.