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OAS Receives Report on Preparations for Sixth Americas Competitiveness Forum, to be held in Cali, Colombia

  September 18, 2012

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) today held a joint session, in the presence of the Colombian Deputy Minister of Enterprise Development, Carlos de Hart, to address preparations for the Sixth Americas Competitiveness Forum and the Meeting of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network, under the slogan "Innovation for Prosperity," in Cali, Colombia from October 24 to 26.

"Competitiveness is an important issue for all countries in the hemisphere, despite the different perspectives and models that exist in the region," said the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, upon receiving the high authority of the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, and added that it is an issue that is "relevant not only at the national level, but also for the development of regions and provinces that have their own particular conditions, strengths and weaknesses."

He added that "a competitiveness agenda is an opportunity to identify and implement actions that can make our cities, provinces and countries more productive and competitive," and called on the countries of the region to "work together to multiply our complementarities, build greater synergies and ease public-private partnership."

Insulza said, for the OAS General Secretariat, Inter-American Forums like the Competitiveness Forum of the Americas, that "promote dialogue on public policy, cooperation and exchange of experiences and lessons learned between our countries members,” are a priority.

The chief representative of the OAS noted that, "despite the fragility of the economic recovery around the world, Latin America and the Caribbean continue with a process of significant growth, which is expected to continue at a good pace in 2012 and 2013, with an average growth rate from 3.5 to 4.2 percent." But he cautioned that "we still have much to do" and recalled that in the recent 2012-2013 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are located on average in position 83 out of 144 countries, and nearly 10 points below that average, "when we consider innovation."

In his speech, Deputy Minister de Hart said the Forum "is a unique event," that aims to "facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge, to make countries more innovative, productive and competitive." He highlighted that more than a thousand regional leaders, among whom are ministers, businessmen and academics, will meet in Cali, where top-level speakers will participate, along with the main leaders of the OAS, the Development Bank for Latin America (CAF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), among other institutions.

The Deputy Minister in the government of President Juan Manuel Santos said that so far, "26 of the 34" Member States have confirmed their participation, and presented a three minute video, in which President Santos and the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Díaz-Granados, invited all the entrepreneurs, citizens and government officials of the Americas to participate in the Sixth Americas Competitiveness Forum. In the video, which shows the preparations in Cali for the event, it is noted that Cali is Colombia's third largest city and the "worldwide capital of salsa.”

The Ambassador of Colombia to the OAS, Andrés González, emphasized that "despite the crisis, our economies resist, but we face the challenge of sustainable growth," and noted that, in this context, one of the challenges in the region is to ensure "that our economies and countries become more competitive." "Along the way,” he said, “there are several strategies to evaluate and deliberate,” and from that perspective, the meeting in Cali takes on even greater importance.

The Colombian diplomat added that "many of these answers will be discussed in the Sixth Competitiveness Forum of the Americas and the Meeting of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network, where we hope to create a meeting place" to "share visions, experiences, innovative ideas and best practices on key issues for competitiveness."

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event will be available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-317/12