LIMA, 1 December 2013 – Over 30 ministers and vice ministers of industry from Latin America and the Caribbean region are in the Peruvian capital today for a conference organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The UNIDO Ministerial Conference is addressing the importance of industrial production and trade for inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the region, with special reference to the contribution of innovation and technology transfer to sustainable industrial development, and the role of UNIDO in this context.
“There is a growing consensus that countries in Latin America and the Caribbean need to develop pro-active industrial policies on the national and regional level, and UNIDO is ready to support them in this,” said the Director General of UNIDO, LI Yong.
“The region has a huge potential to advance economically in the next decades. Its natural resources, population, labour force and regional market will only strengthen the power of the region regarding its economic, political and cultural integration.”
Participants noted that manufacturing's share of the region's GDP has gone down over recent decades due to financial liberalization, competitive imports, national and regional structural problems and the low level of direct investment in productive activities.
Speakers suggested that what is needed today is the diversification of the productive structure, especially in the context of the new demands created by the pursuit of sustainability, the promotion of technological progress and the reinforcement of social inclusion. Diversification will make production more knowledge-intensive, and generate positive effects on productivity, competitiveness and decent job creation.
There was agreement that the region must also promote structural change. More diversified and complex economies are more resistant in moments of difficulty and uncertainty. The active role of the State is essential to foster industrialization, with investment directed to the provision of public goods and social policies, said participants.
The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region as a whole represents the fifth largest economy in the world (after the EU, the USA, Japan and China), with a GDP of four trillion dollars, and, in terms of PPP (purchasing power parity), it is fourth (after the EU, the USA and China), with a GDP of six trillion dollars. The LAC region has 9 per cent of the world's population, a total that is more than the population of the USA and of the EU members states.
Participants agreed that to enhance industrial development in Latin America and the Caribbean, regional integration must be reinforced. Collectively, countries can deal with structural problems such as deficient infrastructure, insufficiently qualified workers, low levels of investment in research and development, innovation, a low level of competitiveness and productivity and the excessive time needed to create new businesses. Advancements in these areas are essential for regional industrial development, noted participants.
View photos from the event on Flickr
For more information, please contact:
Unit Chief, UNIDO’s Latin America and the Caribbean Programme