China's role in realizing 'Latin America decade'
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff arrived in China today accompanied by 300 business leaders on a visit aimed at boosting a growing economic partnership.
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Indeed, although Mexico's murder rate in 2010 was 18.4 homicides per 100,000 people, the rate in the capital was about half that. The rate in the violent border city of Ciudad Juárez exceeded 230 deaths per 100,000 people.Skip to next paragraph
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Yet the perception of violence, along with still-weak democracies and corruption in the region, have analysts warning that the “Latin America decade” will not always be smooth sailing.
“I strongly believe the volatility is not over,” Enrique Bascur, the managing director and Latin American Department head of Citigroup Venture Capital International, warning during the MIT conference. “We're going to continue to see problems. Don't be discouraged if you see Latin America running into troubles in the short to medium term.”
'Latin American decade'
Still, the OECD chief is not the only one predicting this is Latin America's time to shine. On a recent tour of the region, Obama said this is “a region on the move, proud of its progress and ready to assume a greater role in world affairs.” Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, forecast in a Financial Times column that "we stand poised to see the 2010s become the decade of Latin America."
"The foundations for sustained development – particularly in the area of political stability and fiscal reform – have been laid in much of the region. Having weathered the financial crisis, Latin America now has the opportunity to join Asia in leading a global economic recovery," Moreno wrote.
Washington had best not ignore Latin America, reiterated Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos while on a state visit to the US last week that included discussions on a pending US-Colombia free trade agreement. “There is so much potential on our continent,” he said.
Mr. Santos is reportedly considering a Chinese proposal for a $7.6 billion dry canal through Colombia. The OECD's Guerria says the proposal is an example of how Latin America's leaders are thinking creatively with China about ways to increase economic growth.
“It's very bold. This shows [Colombian President Juan Manuel] Santos is thinking about the future,” says Guerria, whose five-year term as OECD chief ends in June. He and other top regional business leaders repeated during the MIT business conference this month that China must be a partner and not a competitor.
Some cooperation is already taking place. China recently invested $10 billion in Brazilian oil giant Petrobras for offshore exploration, says the company's supply director Paulo Roberto Costa. “The Chinese can participate with us like a partner, not a competitor," Mr. Costa said. "Certainly, we need to work more in this direction."