Davos 2022: Latin America’s path to a resilient economic recovery

  • The Latin America Davos 2022 Presidential Panel Session brought together political leaders Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona, President of the Dominican Republic, Rodrigo Chaves Robles, President of Costa Rica, and Dina Ercilia Boluarte, Vice President and Minister of Development and Social Inclusion of Peru.
  • Panelists highlighted that economic recovery has involved measures to boost job creation, social welfare and a green agenda.
  • Watch the full session here.

Amid a global pandemic, climate change and war in Ukraine, Latin American political leaders gathered at a panel in Davos to discuss how their countries will tackle these pressing issues. , as well as their efforts to implement sustainable solutions that benefit people and the planet.

Economic reactivation

As in many parts of the world, the region is working hard to overcome the effect of COVID-19 on the economy. The Dominican Republic’s tourism-based economy accounts for between 16 and 18 percent of the country’s GDP and 20 percent of jobs in the country, President Luis Rodolfo Abinader said. Therefore, the government first had to focus on investing in people’s health to be able to revive tourism.

“We found that if we don’t recover tourism, we couldn’t recover the economy of the Dominican Republic. And to recover tourism, we had to recover health.”

—Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona, President of the Dominican Republic, at Davos 2022.

For Peru, economic growth in 2021 has been positive and strong, registering an increase of 13.5 points, said Dina Ercilia Boluarte, Vice President and Minister of Development and Social Inclusion. Peru’s leadership has focused on digitalization as a means to a more effective and efficient economic recovery, alongside efforts to attract environmentally conscious investors, work closely with the private sector to create jobs and to fight against the informality of work.

President Ivan Duque, among other initiatives, said improving access to formal employment for young people has helped spur economic recovery in Colombia. With unemployment rising during the pandemic, the country decided to subsidize 25% of the minimum wage to companies employing young adults between the ages of 18 and 28. So far, the measure has benefited around 400,000 young people.

The energy transition

Latin America is home to much of the world’s biodiversity, much of which is threatened by climate change. President Duque explained that 50% of his country is made up of tropical forest, while the Amazon occupies 35% of its land. For this reason, he sees it as his responsibility to set ambitious goals and implement urgent action towards net zero by 2050.

“Resilience means turning adversity into opportunity”

—Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, at Davos 2022.

For example, the country seeks to declare 30% of its territory as a protected area in 2022, has engaged hundreds of private sector actors and consumers in a green program, and is making tireless efforts in green mobility. These are steps he says show that resilience is about turning adversity into opportunity.

After just 15 days in office, Rodrigo Chavez, President of Costa Rica, said his country would focus on measures to tackle river pollution, sanitation, waste management and the transition to renewable energy. Costa Rica became a member of the OECD only a year ago, and the president said he is committed to building human capital with education, health and public safety as top priorities, with the reconstruction with climate adaptation at the heart of his country’s development.

“We cannot sacrifice the future for economic gain”

—Rodrigo Chaves Robles, President of Costa Rica, at Davos 2022.

Finally, President Abinader Corona added that, although it is not a major carbon emitter, climate change places the Dominican Republic among the 10% of countries most vulnerable to climate-related risks. With this in mind, the new generations in his country are pushing for environmentally conscious economic models and measures. He said young people, like his own daughters, refuse to buy from places that use plastic. This growing awareness is manifested in the growing trends of ecotourism, reforestation and rehabilitation of lands that have suffered from over-tourism.