The Covid coup is being especially virulent in Latin America. With more than 640,000 deaths and the barrier of 20 million infections exceeded, the pandemic continues to hit the Region with intensity and quarantining an economic recovery “which is already uneven,” the IMF recently warned. In an article published on the agency’s website, Alejandro Werner, the IMF’s director for the Americas, and two other economists stated that the Region’s GDP “will return to pre-pandemic levels only in 2023, and GDP per capita will do so. it will be in 2025, that is, later than other regions of the world. The growth forecast for this year is 4.1%, quite far from the global 5.5%.
The journey to reactivation is not easy, but the roadmap does seem clear. In the same direction that has been traced in Europe, the sustainability, with special emphasis on innovation and digitization, becomes the axis on which to influence to achieve the new impulse. And the private sector has been at the forefront of change. The Ibero-American General Secretary (Segib) and the Ibero-American Business Council (CEIB) have intensified their work in recent months to place sustainability at the center of recovery policies.
An effort that will culminate next April, during the celebration in Andorra of the XXVII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government. There the recommendations of the companies will be formalized, which are endorsed by consensus. “In this process we have had the collaboration of relevant actors from governments, business organizations, multilateral organizations, multibero-American companies and especially SMEs that represent close to 95% of the business fabric of our region,” he explains Pablo Adrián Hardy, responsible for Economy and Companies of Segib.
“This was a process that required large doses of pedagogy, clear leadership and concrete programs with which to favor the change of model. These have been and are the tools that companies and their representative organizations are using at cruising speed “, he explains. Narciso Married, permanent secretary of CEIB. The latest report ‘Sustainability in Latin America’, recently published by Segib, summarizes the frenzy of activity in recent months in all the countries of the Region.
“We are fully convinced that, looking to the future, we must bet on sectors that provide greater added value to the economies of countries, such as innovation, digital transformation, biotechnology, creative industries, those that are included in the called green, blue and orange economies. We believe that the crisis caused by this pandemic can also be an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and move forward. I believe that companies and business organizations are making a great effort to adopt the 2030 Agenda as an effective manual to incorporate the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into our DNA. But I want to remember that, without companies, these objectives can remain mere chimeras “, defends Casado.
The public-private partnerships They will be essential to prop up the structures of this new economic model. “If we really want the circular economy to be the new world economic order, this cannot be understood without these collaborations,” he argues Antonio Magraner, Secretary General of the Ibero-American Federation of Young Entrepreneurs (FIJE). This has been put in evidence the health crisis. «During the last years we have worked very well in this line. Colombia is a clear example of this, but we have to keep moving forward and making the way, ”acknowledges Magraner.
Factors such as low regional integration, the high weight of the informal economy (various studies indicate that it affects 50% of employment, although in countries like Peru it reaches 70%) and the existence of numerous trade barriers still muddy the way of this sustainable recovery and complicate the arrival of the necessary investment. The uneven impact of the Covid also draws a recovery at different rates. “We know that the growing economic crisis, produced by the health crisis, has caused an increase in economic and social inequality in the Region. Gypsum will cause the different speeds when implementing this new model to increase ”, acknowledges Magraner. But he emphasizes that we must not fall into demotivation, “we must continue to believe and strengthen the foundations that were being created,” concludes the FIJE representative.
«Now more than ever the International cooperation to ensure that the countries that make up the Ibero-American Community return to the path of recovery as soon as possible. This will create an ideal framework for investment to increase, especially in technology and talent ”, Adrián Hardy defends.
The emergencies of the Covid could also cause these essential investments to cement the transformation to end up being parked. But Hardy is convinced that, with the movement already activated, there is no going back. “It is possible that resources have to be redirected due to the health emergency, but this process towards a more sustainable and innovative model is unstoppable,” he says.
Axes such as digital transformation and open innovation will be key to involving SMEs, «who have understood that without digitization they will not be able to compete and join global value chains». And it is that Ibero-American companies are already clear that there is no alternative train to innovation to achieve economic recovery.