Public and private sector leaders discuss IDB’s role in transforming the region

Private and public sector leaders discussed the importance of women’s empowerment, sustainable infrastructure and the challenges that the digital revolution represents for institutions at  a “Voices for Development” seminar to conclude the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) official 60th anniversary celebration. 

During the two-day event, the IDB and invited experts explored  the progress that countries in the region have made while analysing the challenges they face at a time of global uncertainty. Among the presidents, renowned personalities, business leaders and academics who attended were: Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Rafael Reif, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); David Bohigian, Acting President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC); Manuela Carmena, former Mayor of Madrid; Eleanor Allen, CEO of Water for People; and Vanessa Córdoba, soccer player on Colombia’s National Team.

The IDB’s governors, including finance ministers and central bank presidents, held a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchi, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez, President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández, and former IDB President Enrique Iglesias.

“Development is never a linear or mechanical process, and to meet the changing needs of our borrowers, the IDB has had to renovate itself again and again. The IDB’s culture of respect, its ability to listen and to adapt to a changing region and world, have allowed it to be a strategic partner,” IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno said in his opening remarks.

President of the Inter-American Development Bank Luis Alberto Moreno
(Photo: iadb.org)

“We can proudly affirm that today, we are a larger, more agile, more innovative, more transparent institution, with greater capacity to bring people together and exert influence,” he continued.

The IDB president proceeded to moderate discussions with former President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick and President of the Brazilian Federation of Banks Murilo Portugal Filho. Both stressed the importance of increasing financing to the private sector to boost productivity and close the infrastructure gap.

The governors emphasised the important role that the IDB has played in transforming Latin America and the Caribbean into a more just, inclusive and sustainable region, and thanked the bank for its support during economic crises and natural disasters. They also asked the IDB to continue helping countries become more resilient to climate change, better tackle corruption, take advantage of the technological revolution, and successfully address increased migration.

The “Voices for Development” seminar focused on empowering women, improving infrastructure and sustainability, and digital transformation in public institutions. The women’s empowerment panel discussed how to eliminate the gender gap, how to encourage young women to study science and math, how to bring more women into tech fields, and how to reduce gender bias in the digital world.

The infrastructure panel debated ways to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 to slow rising temperatures. Panellists also discussed the economic opportunities created by investing in sustainable infrastructure.

The seminar’s last panel looked at how the public sector can use technology to strengthen institutions and increase trust in governments. Panellists also discussed how citizens can use collaborative technology to play a more active role in writing laws.

The IDB’s 60th anniversary events ended on September 28 with a creative festival in Washington, DC, to celebrate the region’s cultural and creative diversity.