The Exporters and Investors Club and Madrid Investment Attraction, the Madrid City Council's Foreign Investment Office, have held a new session of the Meetings with Multilateral Organisations Programme. On this occasion, the speaker was William F. Maloney, chief economist of the World Bank for the Latin America and Caribbean region, who analysed the economic situation in Latin America after the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Latin American region has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the world, causing a significant drop in employment which, although it started to recover from the third quarter of 2020 onwards, has not yet been able to recover to pre-pandemic levels. This is mainly due to the low rate of vaccination in most countries in the region," Maloney explained.
However, the World Bank's chief economist stressed that the region's economic recovery in 2021 "has exceeded forecasts" and has led to the emergence of new productive sectors: "In general, GDP growth rates have been robust in most territories. For example, countries such as Peru, Chile and Panama have grown by more than 10%, and the Dominican Republic and Belize have grown by more than 8%. Some of the large countries, such as Mexico and Brazil, have grown by around 4%. These are all positive figures, although they are still not good enough to compensate for the losses in 2020," he said.
William Maloney predicted that Latin America's recovery will be slow, despite the fact that global factors "are favourable". "All indications are that growth in the region will return to 2010s levels, which were lower than in other regions of the world. The growth forecast for 2022 is 2.8%, and that for 2023 would be below that value, at 2.6%."
Rebuilding a dynamic, inclusive and greener economy in a constrained fiscal environment
Maloney assured that the great challenge for Latin America in the coming years will be to rebuild a dynamic economy "within a framework of fiscal restrictions" and stressed the need to "promote growth, equity and sustainability". In this sense, the World Bank's chief economist stressed the importance of investing in higher education and infrastructures, as well as renewing the countries' energy systems based on renewable energies.