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World Investment and Political Risk

Iberoamérica: Contribuyendo a la prosperidad a largo plazo de un continente

Jose Carlos Villena Perez's picture

Durante mi reciente viaje a España para representar MIGA en un foro sobre el futuro de las infraestructuras portuarias en Iberoamerica organizado por Tecniberia, tuve la oportunidad de comprobar y apreciar los grandes logros alcanzados por muchas naciones iberoamericanas en los últimos lustros.

La “década de prosperidad sostenida” de Iberoamérica es uno de los hechos más notables en la corta historia económica del SXXI por la novedad que esta circunstancia representa. La región goza en estos momentos del periodo más prolongado de crecimiento de su historia contemporánea, y tan sólo el empuje de China y las nuevas potencias asiáticas, pueden comprometer esa primera posición en este podio imaginario de hitos económicos del S XXI.

Tras algunos intentos fallidos en el pasado, parece que Iberoamérica ha conseguido romper definitivamente su particular trampa maltusiana (a periodos cortos de crecimiento boyante le seguían ineludiblemente profundas crisis) en la que se ha visto envuelta una y otra vez durante todo el SXX y se ha afianzado, de una vez por todas, en la senda del progreso.

No obstante, no existe espacio para la complacencia y la contemplación pasiva de lo conseguido en esta década prodigiosa. Los líderes y gobiernos iberoamericanos tienen que continuar luchando por la consolidación definitiva de sus economías, por erradicar las malas praxis pasadas y adquirir nuevos recursos humanos y la infraestructura técnica para introducir a sus naciones entre las más avanzadas del mundo, superando los riesgos de una posible ralentización del crecimiento mundial.

La región sigue afrontando claros desafíos como son: el fortalecimiento de las clases medias, la reducción de las gran desigualdad de ingreso, la explotación de los vastos recursos naturales y la participación de los grupos minoritarios, o incluso en algunos casos mayoritarios, de indígenas en la vida política y social. Enrique Iglesias, titular de la Secretaría General Iberoamericana (Segib) y expresidente del BID señaló recientemente que "a Iberoamérica no le va a seguir siendo tan fácil como hasta hace poco, el viento a favor se terminó y ahora hay que navegar con motor propio y, a veces, con vientos en contra…Hay que ponerse a pensar en esos nuevos términos."

Iberoamerica: Contributing to the long-term prosperity of a continent

Jose Carlos Villena Perez's picture

During my recent business development trip to Spain to represent MIGA at a forum on Latin American port infrastructure organized by Tecniberia, I had an opportunity to see with my own eyes and appreciate the great achievements made by many Iberoamerican nations.

One remarkable point in the still-young economic history of the 21st century is the “decade of sustainable prosperity” in Latin America. The region benefits from one of the longest growth periods in its modern history, with only Chinese and other emerging Asian powers jeopardizing its first position at the imaginary podium of the 21st-century economic empires.

It seems that Iberoamerica has finally managed to break its peculiar Malthusian trap (short periods of booming growth followed by deep recession) in which it fell again and again throughout the 20th century, and has seriously taken a sustained path of progress.

However, there are no grounds for complacency and passive contemplation of what has been achieved in this prodigious decade. Iberoamerican leaders and governments have to continue consolidating their economies, eradicate any poor past practices, and acquire new human resources and technical infrastructure. This will help them position their countries among the most advanced nations of the world and diminish the immediate risks of a slowdown in global growth.

The region is still facing evident challenges: the strengthening of the middle class, reduction of income inequality, exploitation of vast natural resources, and the engagement of minority groups or aboriginal majority in political and social life. Enrique Iglesias, head of the Iberoamerican General Secretariat (SEGIB) and former president of the Inter-American Development Bank, recently pointed out that "Iberoamerica is not going to have it easy going forward.  We are no longer sailing with a favorable wind and we will have to use our own engines—sometimes the wind will even be against us...We have to start thinking in these new terms."

Partnership in Political Risk: Singapore Goes Global!

Paul Barbour's picture

On February 22, MIGA partnered with the Singapore Management University (SMU) and International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore), to launch the most recent World Investment and Political Risk Report in Asia. The event, at SMU’s downtown campus, focused on the key issues of sovereign and political risk and how foreign investors can mitigate them.

The latest World Investment and Political Risk report is the fourth in a series that we’ve recently launched in London and Washington, DC as well. There are some important nuggets on FDI trends and perceptions this year. The report notes that foreign investors, attracted by stronger economic growth in developing countries while mindful of risks, still remain optimistic about these destinations.

It's Africa's Turn

Rebecca Post's picture

In Washington last Friday, I boarded a flight to Addis Ababa at 11:00 am. By the time I arrived in Johannesburg, Egypt’s president of 30 plus years was no longer in power. The pace of change in the Middle East and North Africa is mind boggling. Anyone doing business in the region is trying to grasp the implications, and the risk profile of doing business in some of the countries has suddenly changed.

In the meantime, sub-Saharan Africa is looking more and more attractive to investors. At least that was the consensus at today’s MIGA-sponsored seminar on managing political risk for cross-border investment. For too long, Western media has portrayed the region as a place of war and famine.

Parsing Asia: What New World Bank Reports Say about Investment in the Region

Paul Barbour's picture

In the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis, one obvious truth is that locus of growth has shifted east. While the world frets over the stuttering recoveries in the USA and EU, most Asian economies have rebounded well, including a pick-up of FDI into and from these markets. The latest IMF World Economic Outlook expects growth in developing Asia to be 9.4% in 2010 and 8.4% in 2011. Contrast this with estimates for the USA of 2.6% in 2010 and 2.3% in 2011, and for the EU 1.7% in 2010 and 1.5% in 2011. A similar story will be found in the Global Economic Prospectsreport from the World Bank Development Economics Group to be launched on January 12. 


A central question remains, however: Are these high growth rates and the high returns to investment, risk-neutral vis-à-vis investing in developed markets? Or other emerging-market regions? This question is pertinent for both commercial and political risk – but it is the latter to which I now turn.


Risk’s Rewards Are Many

Mallory Saleson's picture

Attending MIGA’s seminar today in London on cross-border investment in conflict affected and fragile economies prompted me to think back on my days in the field—not only during my experience with the World Bank in southern Africa, but to two decades as a journalist in the same region.

I traveled in a number of African countries where I reported  on fragile economies, on war and political violence, and on post-conflict rebuilding efforts. Some countries, to be sure, were more successful than others. Mozambique has always been singled out as among the miracles and it’s understandable. I went to Mozambique for the first time in 1984 to report on the civil war, which had already taken a heavy toll after seven years of intense conflict, and returned a number of times up until 1990. 


Political Risk Perceptions and the Financial Crisis

Michael Christopher's picture

MIGA recently launched its new World Investment and Political Risk report in London to a gathering of investment and political risk experts. Based on a joint MIGA – EIU Political Risk Survey conducted last year, the report underscores that political risk remains one of the main obstacles to FDI in emerging markets.

Launch update: World Investment and Political Risk

Mallory Saleson's picture

Just back from London where MIGA launched its new report, World Investment and Political Risk, and partnered with the Financial Times to host a symposium on Managing Global Political Risk.  The event was standing-room only, packed with experts from the political risk insurance industry. Debate was lively on the future for investing in emerging markets, managing global political risk in uncertain times, and whether investors are moving into a riskier world.