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Partnering for the Future of the Americas | Mainstage


oas clear e1635447905937 - Partnering for the Future of the Americas | Mainstage


Matthew Swift, Co-Founder and CEO, Concordia
H.E. Luis Almagro Lemes, Secretary-General, Organization of American States; Concordia Leadership Council Member
H.E. Laura Chinchilla, Former President of Costa Rica, Vice President, World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid; Concordia Leadership Council Member

Optimism and opportunity remain in Latin America, even as the region continues to suffer from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. The most pressing issue, according to Luis Almagro Lemes, Secretary-General, Organization of American States, is equal access to vaccination. The Secretary General explained that the economy cannot fully restart without appropriate levels of vaccination. He then listed other concerns in the region—including violence, dictatorships, and failed systems—and explained the need to promote better institutions and citizen engagement.

Matthew Swift, Co-Founder & CEO of Concordia, described how COVID-19 has tested institutional strength in the region and asked about the role of multilateral institutions. Laura Chinchilla, former President of Costa Rica, noted that the pandemic opened a larger social gap due to how it hit populations in different ways. Investment is necessary but the question remains of where and how to find it. One challenge, she explained, continues to be better coordination among financial institutions. The Secretary General agreed, expressing the need for more human and capital resources to improve technology and solve existing problems. While the private sector plays a crucial role, he noted that certain necessities for business—good education and infrastructure, for example—can only be delivered by the state. A multilateral approach is crucial.  

Secretary Almagro announced that the 2022 Concordia Americas Summit will take place in partnership with OAS. Bringing together leaders from across industries, sectors, and geographies, the 2022 Americas Summit will explore the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the Western Hemisphere. 

There are so many factors contributing to the situation we have today, whether it be good governance at a local level, the drive of the private sector, and multilaterals being properly armed.

Matthew Swift

The role of the government, the role of administration is extremely relevant. Business can be done if you have a very good education level, if you have good infrastructure, if you have good roads, good ports, good airports, if you have certainty of respect for the laws of economy and legal affairs. All that is delivered by the state.

Luis Almagro Lemes

The pandemic has hit in different ways, in different sectors of the population. The social gap is going to be even wider than before.

Laura Chinchilla

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the already-large gap between the rich and the poor in Latin America.
  • A sustainable, equitable recovery requires a multilateral approach that brings together the best resources of government, private enterprise, and the NGO sector.  
  • Concordia and the OAS have partnered for the 2022 iteration of the Concordia Americas Summit.