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Secretary General Highlights Role of Private Sector in Addressing Challenges of the Americas in CEAL Conference at the OAS

  June 13, 2014

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, spoke today on the role of the private sector in addressing “the great tasks” of the region in the coming years, during a conference of the Latin American Business Council (CEAL) held at the headquarters of the OAS in Washington DC.

Secretary General Insulza began his address explaining that the region is beginning a new economic era, in which growth will be slower than in the past decade. “Latin America went through, from 2002 to 2012, a very exceptional phase in its history,” said the Secretary General. “Now, in contrast, we are in a slow growth phase.”

In this new era, the OAS leader set forth four “great tasks” for the region: generating economic growth, decreasing inequality, reducing violence, and increasing accountability in politics. In terms of economic growth, he emphasized that “to achieve it, we will need to take advantage of public-private sector cooperation, it cannot be done by the state alone.”

“Latin America is the most unequal region in the world,” recalled the Secretary General, who pointed to the need to improve the “social protection floors” in the countries of the region, and to increase the distribution of income. This should go hand in hand, he said with an unprecedented effort to reduce violence.

In politics, added the OAS leader, Latin America “has far more democracy than before,” but important challenges remain such as corruption, the improvement of governance, and the lack of accountability. “The great challenge is accountability, which allows for horizontal control,” said Secretary General Insulza. “This has to do with the independence of the judiciaries, the freedom of press and of expression. They are the ways in which a democracy produces greater accountability or horizontal control by the other political actors in society.”

In concluding his presentation, the OAS leader set forward his conviction that “with the efforts and disposition of the state, civil society and the private sector, our region will be able to meet all the challenges we face in the development of our countries, and do so in an environment of democracy and social inclusion. And I hope that we reach the necessary consensus, that we learn to respect one another and to accept that democracy and legitimacy do not belong to any one person, but to everyone together.”

CEAL is an organization that includes the most important private entrepreneurs in Latin America, created 24 years ago to promote its members participation in the current exchange and cooperation tendencies, in every aspect in which private companies can contribute to the economic progress of their countries. The meeting of CEAL ends today.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The B-Roll of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-254/14