Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) president Luis Alberto Moreno was the keynote speaker at the opening day luncheon of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships conference, held Nov. 14 in downtown Toronto.
Moreno appealed to Canada to get involved in P3 projects in Latin America, which he termed “a land of opportunity.”
“The region is open for business, open for partnership and open to close the infrastructure gap and engage in sustainable development at the same time,” Moreno said.
The quandary in Latin America is less a lack of liquidity than the small pool of investors willing to go in on a project, Moreno said. He pointed to the $250-million Canadian Climate Fund (C2F), which invests in green projects in Latin America, as a good example of co-operation between the two regions. The fund has supported over 18 projects, leveraging additional investments of $842 million he said.
Moreno highlighted what he called “the biggest paradox we have today” as increasing feelings of global insecurity while technological change and prosperity increase.
“Over 70 per cent of Americans are concerned about globalization, while that number is reversed in Latin America, where 77 per cent are in favour,” he said.
Canada, Moreno added, has a role if the United States is becoming more protectionist and the P3 model is “essential to the region.”
“Latin America is only investing half of what it should, approximately two per cent of GDP, on infrastructure. Most Latin American countries don’t have the space to indulge in deficit spending,” he said. “The result will likely be negative growth.”
The contraction of Brazil and Venezuelan economies, along with economic realignment in Argentina, are the main drivers of this negative growth, he said. Despite these factors, other countries in the region continue to grow.
IDB’s role, he said, is to advise on P3 best practices and the organization is currently working on a “one-stop-shop” platform for countries to calculate how they can best combat climate change as per the recent Paris Agreement. The IDB is involved in 387 projects throughout Latin America.
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