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Latin America at Risk, reports WEF

Apr '07
The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its Latin America at Risk report. Produced by the Forum's Global Risk Network, the report emphasizes the uncertainty surrounding external economic shocks, global climate change, political instability and social inequality, and its effect on regional growth and welfare.

The report notes the increasing strength and robustness of Latin America's economies, while exploring the key economic, environmental, geopolitical and societal issues that put that progress at risk. While all four of these issues emerge from the broader global risk environment, the regional manifestations present particular challenges for governments, industry and civil society throughout Latin America.

“Global risks play out uniquely in Latin America, but also differently across the region, which is incredibly diverse,” notes the Global Risk Network's Gareth Shepherd, co-author of the report. “But these four issues – social inequality, political instability, economic vulnerability and climate change – are on the radar of all of the region's strategic thinkers.”

The report argues that Latin American economies are much less vulnerable to sudden disruption than they have been in past decades, thanks primarily to improved fiscal positions. But with much incremental growth arising from commodity exports, global risks such as a hard landing of the Chinese economy or rising protectionism from the United States create new challenges for the region. Fiscal discipline and counter-cyclical policies must be strengthened to build the region's “margin of safety”.

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