The presidential elections to be held this year in six Latin American countries are an opportunity to launch new policies and have the region in the investors’ target, said Camilo Atala, president of the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL).
"These elections will result in a new regional political situation in which the private sector can advocate for more transparency, for more participation and for more opportunities for everybody," Atala said at the opening of the 1st Enlarged Board CEAL 2018, which is held until Friday in the Panamanian capital.
The Honduran businessman said that the elections that will be held this year in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Paraguay also represent "great challenges for our regional integration and for the relations of our region with the entire world."
These elections, he added, will take place in a "positive" economic context, with a growth of the regional gross domestic product (GDP) close to 2 percent and with an increasingly large and growing Latin American middle class.
"The reconfiguration of the political map and the economic perspectives are an opportunity to demand less rhetoric and more action, to be on the side of the people and work to have Latin America in the investors’ target," Atala said.
The organization, which was founded 28 years ago and brings together more than 500 entrepreneurs from Latin America, Puerto Rico and Miami, will addressed at this meeting the political, economic and social transformation in the region.
Atala said during his speech that, given this context, the business organization should base its actions on four fundamental bases: logistics as a tool to increase competitiveness of Latin America, governance of the countries, competitiveness of companies and the "great connection "with China.
The businessman, who also chairs the board of directors of Grupo Financiero Ficohsa (GFF), said that in recent times there have been important milestones in relations between Latin America and the Asian giant, including the establishment of diplomatic ties with Panama and the deepening of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile.
The inauguration of the meeting was attended by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, who reviewed the millionaire public infrastructure projects that are being developed in the country and exposed the conditions that, in his opinion, make Panama a platform to connect the region.
The president also urged the business community to get involved in public life to "advance together and present the world a united, peaceful, growing continent, with a private sector responsible for the laws of the country and with a political class that understands that it has to be accountable."
Varela also granted the CEAL Latin American Integration Award, the highest distinction of the organization, to Panamanian businessman Stanley Motta, Copa Airlines' top shareholder.
Today, more than 200 attendees also enjoyed a panel on "family offices" (investment platforms that manage large family assets), given by the specialist Kirby Rosplock, and an exhibition on how to deal with adversity, held by Gustavo Zerbino, survivor of the Los Andes tragedy.
The meeting will end tomorrow with the intervention of Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation of Panama María Luisa Navarro, and with a presentation by Ricardo Ernst, professor and director of the Latin American Board of Georgetown University (USA), on the challenges that Latin America has in terms of governance, competitiveness and globalization. According to ACAN-EFE