Latin America featured in the official program of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos 2020

Strategic Outlook: Latin America (Tuesday January 21, 2020)

Latin America’s governments have faced a number of domestic pressures in recent years, including humanitarian, political and geo-economic, which have led to an economic slowdown in the region.
A bumper set of panellists debated how leaders in Latin American countries can establish cohesion across the region and build a sustainable, prosperous and secure future.
The panellists were Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, Executive Secretary for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Paulo Guedes, Minister of Economy, Brazil, Angel Gurría, Secretary General, OECD, Lenin Moreno Garcés, President of Equador, Guillermo Nielson, Special Envoy of the Government of Argentina and, Graciela Márquez Colín, Minister of Economy, Mexico.
In 2019, eight Latin American countries changed leadership against a background of economic challenges and issues with inequality. The region achieved just 0.1% growth with 1.6% predicted in 2020 by the IMF.
The panel is united in agreeing that the region faces significant challenges – some common across borders and others country-specific. Neilson explained that Argentina is focused on two key areas this year: debt restructuring and launching a programme to promote growth.
He summed up the situation in simple terms: “In order to foot the bill [of our debt] we need to grow.”
Guedes answered the challenge from Ibarra that Brazil has not been growing enough by saying: “For many decades Brazil was the fastest growing economy – above China. Somehow we lost our way.”
Part of the reason, Guedes explained, is that Brazil has been spending above its means with inflation running wild. After 40 years of mismanagement, he believes that his government has started to tackle some of the overspending – areas such as social security and debt interest – and they are seeing a slow and steady recovery.
In Mexico, the country has the world’s lowest minimum wage. Márquez Colín said that her country is committed to improvement with tight controls on inflation and paying back public debt, suggesting that the “macro stability looks fine”.
She argued that the minimum wage has increased in each of the last two years and there is a commitment to offer better paid jobs in the future. They are also looking to tackle inequality, particularly in the south of the country, through large infrastructure projects.

One Trillion Trees – a global initiative is launched (Wednesday, January 22, 2020)

The World Economic Forum launches a global initiative to grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world – in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change.

President Ivan Duque of Colombia, one of the panelists in the press conference, said: “The big challenge of our time is climate change and we will not be successful on climate change if we don’t defeat deforestation.” Colombia aims to plant 180 million trees by August 2022, he said.


Securing a Sustainable Future for the Amazon (Wednesday, January 22, 2020)

The number of fires in the Amazon rainforest grew in 2019 were up 30.5% from the previous year, and raised global awareness of the importance of the region for the world’s biodiversity and the climate. What is the best path for the people and the Amazon and their environment?
Ivan Duque, President of Colombia, will discuss the future with Brazilian scientist Carlos Afonso Nobre, former US Vice-President Al Gore and naturalist Jane Goodall. The moderator is BBC broadcaster Mishal Husain.
Read: How green investment will help Latin America and the world fight climate change
Tipping points
ICYMI: earlier today: One trillion trees – World Economic Forum launches plan to help nature and the climate
Carlos Afonso Nobre said that in the southern Amazon, deforestation was happening at such a rate that it could hit a ‘tipping point’ where the forest could not sustain itself.
“If this tipping point is exceeded, 50-60 percent of the Amazon forest will turn into dry savanna.”
Ivan Duque has a big stake in the future of the Amazon : 35% of his country, Colombia, is in it. His government aims to plant 180 million trees by 2022.
“It’s not widely understood that the soils in most of the Amazon are very thin – the richness is in the canopy,” said Al Gore.
“So when poor people clear the land and think they will have crops year after year it’s a false hope and not a sustainable answer to poverty.”

Special Address by Juan Guaidó on Venezuela (Thursday, January 23, 2020)

Juan Guaidó gives a special addresss to Davos 2020, at a decisive time in Venezuela’s history.

Guaidó is the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela and recognized by more than 50 countries as Interim President of Venezuela.

What are the next steps for the country?

Reuters sums up his position: “Last January, Guaidó invoked the constitution as head of congress and declared Maduro an usurper. But a year on Maduro remains in power, despite a U.S. campaign to cut off his government’s sources of financing by imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s oil sector, and Guaidó’s attempts to encourage the military to rebel.”

Guaidó defied a travel ban to leave Venezuela on Sunday and has since met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and addressed the European Parliament.

He says he plans to return to Venezuela, but it will be risky.

“This a real opportunity to talk to you, the world’s leaders, to bring the voice of Venezuelan people to say we stand steadfast,” Guaidó said.

“More people have left the country than have have left Syria, but we are not a country at war, there are no bombs, but we do feel the weeping of our people.”” Guaidó said.

“On behalf of Venezuela, on behalf of those children … who perhaps have no hope today, we have to make sure we act.”

Guaidó said his demand was simple: a free and fair election. “What we want is a free Venezuela, a democratic Venezuela which respects human rights, where you can invest, where we can also make the most of our oil reserves, so that we can really unleash the potential that we have, if we can rebuild our region, consolidate a democratic system which would serve its people so that we can stop this disaster.”


For more information on the numerous sessions and contributors at the Annual Meeting in Davos, go to the WEF’s official homepage:

A view of Latin America by one of the top opinion leaders, Augusto López Claros

Augusto López Claros is one of the top opinion leaders from Latin America. The international economist, speaker and author of numerous books has over 30 years of experience in senior positions at various international organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum and, most recently, the World Bank.

Read his latest Blog:


IDB non-regional members meeting in Switzerland, January 16, 2020

On behalf of IDB Group and SECO, Switzerland Global Enterprise would like to invite your company to join the IDB Get-Together with the Swiss Private Sector, which will take place on Thursday, 16 January 2020 from 14.00 to 18.00 at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue (Gheistrasse 37, Rüschlikon) and will be headed by IDB Invest’s CEO.

Attached you will find the program of the IDB Get-Together with the Swiss Private Sector Meeting (Program Link).

For Executives of Swiss infrastructure companies, participation is free of charge but will be limited (1 representative per company).

This kind of meeting is unique in the international financial institutions landscape. If you wish to be part of it, please confirm your participation by sending an e-mail with your full contact details to Albulena Biljali:

Registration deadline: 08.01.2020

Should you not be able to join, but would like to send another representative from your company, kindly send us the contact details of the designated person.


Profit from the early bird ticket for the Aussenwirtschaftsforum 2020, 28/04/20, Messe Zurich,



Publication by the IDB (Nov. 2019)

Trading Promises for Results

What Global Integration can do for Latin America and the Caribbean

(edited by Mauricio Mesquita Moreira and Ernesto Stein)

  • Excessive expectations on the promises of free trade led to disappointment, skepticism and reform fatigue, and in some cases, to policy reversals.
  • Liberalization brought many benefits, including faster growth. Our study finds that a tariff cut accelerates per capita GDP growth. And most Latin Americans favor deeper integration.
  • Some sectors and workers lose with free trade, however, and have incentives to block trade reform. Implementing good trade policies requires a deep understanding of the political economy of trade policy and an adequate institutional architecture for trade policy management.
  • Succesful trade policies also require a complementary agenda to facilitate factor reallocation and protect those who are made worse off, in order to make the most of the opportunities offered by global integration, while mitigating associated risks.

Read more, download or subscribe: Link

Brainstorming with Diplomacy

November 18, 2019

Linda Walker von Graffenried, Vice President of the LATCAM Board, Philippe Nell, Honorary Ambassador of the LATCAM Board, and Tatjana Gaspar, Managing Director of LATCAM, were invited by Ana Rosa Valdivieso, Ambassador of Peru to Switzerland, to take part in an informal luncheon at the residence of the Peruvian Ambassador and in the presence of Ambassadors and Embassy officials of other Latin American countries. The purpose was to open a dialogue about opportunities of mutual cooperation by strengthening ties with LATCAM, get a perspective on potential LATCAM events under consideration for 2020 and give all diplomats present a possibility to ask questions and present their views.

Focus on Uruguay

November 13, 2019

Philippe Nell, Honorary Ambassador of LATCAM, joined Alejandro Garofali, Ambassador of Uruguay to Switzerland, to meet Marcos Esteve, CEO of Banque Heritage, for lunch at the bank’s headquarters in Geneva. Banque Heritage being the only Swiss bank established in Uruguay, topics of the discussion were opportunities for Swiss banks in Uruguay as well as banking and policies affecting Uruguay’s competitiveness.

Meeting ProChile

October 31, 2019

LATCAM Board Members Gabriela Lippe-Holst and Manfred Ebling held a meeting in Zurich with Francisco Gormaz, Ambassador of Chile to Switzerland, Minister Counsellor Roberto Plaza Cañas and Dr. Marcelo Villagrán, Trade Representative at the General Consulate of Chile in Munich, engaging in a productive discussion about developing and improving business relations between Switzerland and Chile.

Foreign Affairs (Nov/Dec 2019 issue)

Foreign Affairs (Nov/Dec 2019 issue) article “Why Latin America Was Primed to Explode” by Moisés Naím and Brian Winter:

The entire article can be read by subscription only.

Meeting a Brazilian Indigenous Delegation

November 8, 2019:
Ramon Esteve, Chairman of the Board of LATCAM, and Dr. Philippe Nell, Honorary Ambassador of LATCAM, meeting with a Delegation of Brazilian Indigenous Populations and a Delegation of the STSA in Geneva, discussing threats to the Amazon Region and opportunities of the FTA.

Fact Sheet Amazonas

A Statement on the above meeting by Ramon Esteve will be sent to our Members.


S-GE Event: Business Opportunities in the Brazilian Market

An overview on how to navigate the Brazilian Market

The Brasilea Foundation, in cooperation with Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), invites interested companies to the event taking place on November 26th 2019 in Basel to get to know more about the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Latin America’s largest market.

For more information please consult the flyer (download)