The World Economic Forum (WEF) is the world’s most renowned gathering of government leaders and top business executives. The WEF on Latin America event is a decade old this year, and to mark the occasion Mexico has been deemed the Forum’s host for the third time.
Each year an overarching theme is chosen with the aim of reaching the WEF’s quest of “improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation.” It is for this reason, and in light of the dramatic economic changes currently underway in Mexico, that the country was a clear choice to host this year’s “Advancing through a Renovation Agenda” focus.
While the agenda of last year’s WEF on Latin America held in Panama “Opening Pathways for Shared Progress” thematically initiated the direction of a shared Latin American prosperity, this year’s event delves into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of economic advancement. The selection of Mexico to host the 2015 WEF on Latin America was a discernible choice for three reasons.
The first is the correlation between Mexico’s current economic environment and idea of ‘Renovation’. Mexico for the past few years has been navigating its way through waves of reforms that are issuing in changes of legislation to education, energy, fiscal and telecommunications, making the country prime for foreign investment flows. The path that Mexico has found itself on is a courageous one, and it has risen to the challenge. This year’s event in Riviera Maya in the state of Quintana Roo is a signifier that the world has recognized Mexico’s efforts and economic leadership for a ‘Renovation Agenda’.
Secondly, and interconnected to the reform process, is that Mexico is open once again after 70 odd years of being outside the loop for attracting foreign investors. The crux of this year’s event is to provide a platform, a springboard for decision-makers to formulate bold plans to launch “the new generation of Latin American investments and transformational projects,” to which Mexico is a palpable example that is currently generating investment.
Lastly, is the transformational project that is exhibiting the dynamism and is being applauding by global leaders: the Pacific Alliance. Mexico currently sits as the President pro tempore. The Pacific Alliance formally launched in 2012 is made up of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, and serves to promote regional integration and growth. The four founding members represent 36% of Latin America GDP and if put together as a single country, the group would be the sixth largest economy in the world. Moreover, the Pacific Alliance epitomizes how the undercurrents of global trade are changing and emerging markets are taking steps to seize the moment. A point that UK Minister of State for Latin America, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire, says why the UK should “increase our engagement in this region” and more frankly states, “if we’re smart, we should stand ready to support them . . .”
The aim of the WEF on Latin America in Riviera Maya from May 6-8 is more than bringing awareness to investment opportunities that can be found. It is about ridding the perception that Latin America is plagued with inequality, corruption and low productivity, and that with the right mechanisms, policies, structures and frameworks emplaced a new generation of Latin American investment lays ahead. And right now, it is Mexico that is championing this message.