Media Center

Press Release


  May 18, 2006

Business leaders from around the hemisphere will offer ideas to strengthen competitiveness, create jobs and improve access to information technology, during a two-day forum that will take place in the Dominican Republic, on the eve of the thirty-sixth General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS).

The Private Sector Forum, which will be held June 2-3 in Santo Domingo, will focus on the theme “Inter-American Public-Private Partnership for Competitiveness and Job Creation in the Knowledge Society.” Participants will include two Presidents, Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic and Martín Torrijos of Panama, as well as leaders of international agencies and the private sector.

Google Vice President Vinton Cerf, one of the inventors of the Internet, will talk about Latin America and the Caribbean in the knowledge-based society. Other business leaders who will participate include Gustavo Cisneros, President of the Cisneros Group, and Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory and President of One Laptop per Child, an initiative that seeks to revolutionize education worldwide through the development of low-cost computers.

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza noted that the high level of participation signals a new, positive relationship between the public sector and private enterprise in the region, and recalled that the OAS and the non-profit organization Private Sector of the Americas signed a cooperation agreement in April of this year. “The business sector can contribute significantly to the creation of a culture of greater production and competitiveness in our region, one that generates opportunities for our peoples and thus strengthens democracy,” Insulza said.

The Private Sector Forum is organized by the OAS, the government of the Dominican Republic, that country’s National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP) and Private Sector of the Americas. Participants in the opening session will include OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin; the Dominican Republic’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, Francisco Javier García; Ernesto Gutiérrez, President of Private Sector of the Americas; and CONEP President Elena Viyella de Paliza. Insulza will participate in the closing of the two-day event.

The forum will incorporate ideas from the Fourth Summit of the Americas, which focused on “Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance,” and from the upcoming OAS General Assembly, which will discuss “Good Governance and Development in the Knowledge-Based Society.” On Sunday, June 4, before the formal opening of the General Assembly, representatives of the private sector will have the opportunity to meet with the heads of delegation and present recommendations for the foreign ministers’ consideration.

Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf stressed the importance of making information technology part of the inter-American agenda, given its enormous potential for increasing countries’ Gross Domestic Product. “To take advantage of this opportunity will require the orchestration of public policy and private investment in many sectors of our national economies, which makes the Private sector Forum a key aspect of the General Assembly process,” Cerf said.

Reference: E-120/06