International IDEA’s Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Director, Daniel Zovatto, participated in a high-level panel at the World Economic Forum on Latin America, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 6-7 April 2017. (Read this news article in Spanish)
Zovatto participated in the session “Deciphering Latin American Challenges”, where he shared a panel with other leading experts, including former President of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández, former Vice President of Costa Rica Rebeca Grynspan, former Chilean Finance Minister Felipe Larraín and Harvard Professor Ricardo Hausmann, to discuss the main trends, risks and opportunities facing the region and map out strategies to navigate the current context of growing global uncertainty.
Zovatto noted how timely this debate was, as in 2018 Latin America will celebrate 40 years since the beginning of the third wave of democratization. Also, 2017 sees the commencement of a new and very important elections cycle: Ecuador has recently gone to the polls to elect a new president and so will Chile and Honduras in the following months. Argentina will undertake mid-term elections in October this year, which will be key for President Macri and, in 2018, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela are scheduled to hold presidential elections as well.
Zovatto emphasized the importance of targeting three major risks for the region, including institutional and governance weakness; social instability; and economic uncertainty and unemployment. “We must attend the demands of Latin America’s emerging middle class, which expects not only better and more effective public services, but also demands more transparency and accountability as well as an effective fight against corruption” said Dr. Zovatto.
The emerging middle class is putting pressure on political institutions and leaderships across the region. Governments and institutions are not capable, in many cases, to provide effective and timely response to an agenda that demands more and better public services, which must be delivered right now. Zovatto noted the need for a process of economic reform accompanied by both fiscal as well as political reforms. “We have political institutions designed in the 18th and 19th centuries to deal with the complex societies of 21st century”, Zovatto concluded.
The World Economic Forum on Latin America hosted several panels that discussed Latin America’s political, economic and societal issues, including the transparency, agility and long-term stability needed to navigate the present and contribute to shaping the region’s future.
Watch the full session “Deciphering Latin American Challenges” and Zovatto’s interventions.