Washington -- Improved policies and strong
leadership in Latin America explain why the region's economies
have improved in recent years, says John Taylor, the U.S.
Treasury Department's under secretary for international
Taylor spoke April 10 in his role as the
U.S. temporary alternate governor at a meeting of the Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB) in Okinawa, Japan. He said economic
reforms in the region have built financial stability and
confidence, "leading to increasing capital flows, higher
levels of investment, and rapid export growth."
Continued economic expansion in Latin America
is expected, Taylor said. Private forecasters foresee growth
of 4 percent in 2005, following growth of almost 6 percent
in 2004, the region's fastest growth in 25 years, added
Taylor, who delivered his remarks at the April 10-12 IDB
Board of Governors' annual meeting in Okinawa.
Taylor said Latin America's improved economy
is "good news, but we all know the region can and should
do better." He indicated that decades of sustained
high growth are needed to bring down high poverty rates
in Latin America.
The region faces two major challenges for
sustained growth, Taylor said. The first challenge, he argued,
is to "lock in" recent improvements in macroeconomic
policy by putting in place "fiscal-responsibility regimes
that discipline budget planning and execution" and
by supporting what have proven to be "successful low-inflation
The second challenge, Taylor said, is to
concentrate on "microeconomic reform, including trade
liberalization and the reduction of burdensome regulation,
in order to unleash job creation by entrepreneurs both small
Taylor -- who has announced he will be leaving
his position at the Treasury Department on April 22 -- said
the United States intends to work hard to help ensure that
the November 2005 Summit of the Americas in Argentina improves
the lives of people in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The United States, he said, is working to
ensure progress on such goals as expanding small-business
lending, reducing the time to start a business, promoting
"high-return infrastructure growth," and reducing
the costs of sending remittances (money transfers) by migrants
working in the United States to their families back home
in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, the IDB said in an April 8 statement
that millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean
could escape poverty if the region met goals set by the
United Nations on reducing global poverty by 2015.
The IDB said more than 170 million people
in the region could be removed from the ranks of the poor;
another 120 million more people would have access to safe
drinking water; nine million more children would go to school;
and two million people would survive rather than die before
the age of five if United Nations Millennium Development
Goals were met.
During a U.N. special session in 2000, 189
countries set targets to cut poverty by 50 percent by 2015,
and to improve health care, sanitation, environmental protection,
nutrition, and gender equality, among other goals.
The IDB offered its predictions during an
April 7-9 seminar in Okinawa entitled "Meeting the
Millennium Development Goals: Sharing Best Practices between
Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean." The seminar
was one of a series of events held in conjunction with the
IDB's annual meeting in Okinawa.
Carlos Jarque, manager of the IDB's Sustainable
Development Department, said the U.N. goals should be the
"driving force for cooperation and development"
in the Americas.
Jarque said that while economic growth is
critical for development, it is not enough. "Purposeful
and targeted action is essential now to lift large numbers
of people out of poverty and hunger," he said.
The statistics presented at the Okinawa
seminar are "not only numbers, but the lives and the
hopes of the poor and of societies at large," he added.
The IDB is holding its annual meeting for
the second time in Asia. The Japanese government chose Okinawa
as the venue, in large part because hundreds of thousands
of its residents migrated to the Western Hemisphere in the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. The world's largest
Japanese diaspora (dispersion of people) is now in South
Washington File Staff Writer
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International
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