Permanent Secretary: We need to strengthen integration in these times

junio 26, 2022
Permanent Secretary: We need to strengthen integration in these times

The Permanent Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System, Ambassador Clarems Endara, warned that it is essential to strengthen integration in the region in the current economic context. “We have to strengthen integration much more in these times. If in times of pandemic and now in times of war, the region does not understand that we have to work together and strengthen ties, we have not really learned anything from the crisis,” he said.

In an interview with Oscar Schemel on his programme 'Análisis Situacional' on the Venezuelan television channel Globovisión, Ambassador Endara explained that the economic crisis in the region has worsened and projections indicate that growth will not even reach 1.8% this year. That is why in this context, integration is very necessary in the region.

“The current situation is really worrying. We have oil-producing countries that may report positive growth indicators, but there are non-oil-producing countries with high imports that may have problems in their growth, which represents greater poverty. There is a 33% increase in poverty and a 14% increase in extreme poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean. This sets off several alarm bells,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary stressed that access to fertilisers impacts on agro-producing countries, as higher fertiliser prices can generate a deficit that will increase inflation and poverty indicators. There are vulnerabilities in food security, although there are still markets that can be exploited, “but we have to work together,” he stressed.

“In the long term, the region needs to work together. Although we buy 70% of fertilisers, we have to think about how to be self-sufficient in the medium and long term. For an agricultural region, we need to review industrial transformation mechanisms and start looking at biofertilisers, for example,” Ambassador Endara added.

He warned about the low international investment in the region. Investment must contribute to the productive development of the country, and the State must clearly define these conditions. Work needs to be done in productive sectors. Although investment in the region has suffered, it has a great capacity for relocation. Many countries in the region have the installed capacity for private investment. “We have to move towards a public-private partnership, towards a new social contract that allows us to focus on a new reality. If we do not work with the private sector, we cannot generate sufficient profits to serve the neediest social sector,” he said.

He also explained that in order to make some headway in development, social pacts are fundamental. The first task is to reach consensus on internal issues in each country, and the second is to begin to review best practices. “The first thing we have to do is to solve the internal problems, and once they have been solved, we must begin to review the policies and best practices in the region that have yielded results,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary of SELA reiterated that the organisation works in three areas: economic recovery, digitalisation and social development, in order to consolidate common positions in the region. “We try to propose public policies for the region and that is the great added value of SELA, which has the freedom to work on the model of each country to move towards integration,” he noted.