Barranquilla, Colombia, March 18 (efe-epa) .- The Inter-American Development Bank launched an initiative on sustainable development of the Amazon and another on Thursday to encourage women entrepreneurs to integrate their businesses into foreign trade and regional value chains.
These programs were announced at the IDB and IDB Invest Annual Board of Governors Meeting, a five-day virtual gathering hosted by this Caribbean port city.
IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone said at the presentation of the Amazon initiative together with the Colombian head of state Ivan Duque that the countries do not have to choose between environmental protection policy and growth and that both can mutually reinforce one another.
The initiative, for which the IDB is providing start-up capital of USD 20 million, is being implemented in close coordination with the Amazon countries and the Amazon Cooperation Agreement Organization (ACTO).
Once established, the fund will have nearly $ 1 billion in project finance thanks to additional contributions from private partners and other donors, Claver-Carone said.
“The good news is that there is the political will and interest of the private sector to promote models for sustainable and inclusive development for the Amazon,” said the IDB chief.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who also took part in the virtual meeting, welcomed the initiative to work for the conservation and sustainable use of resources.
The initiative offers Latin American countries the opportunity to join forces for a common cause for the benefit of the communities living in this region, said the right-wing head of state.
The Amazon is vital to ecosystems around the world. It supplies between 35 and 40 percent of Latin America’s fresh water, regulates air quality, stores net carbon emissions and regulates the nutrient and water cycles for the South American continent.
More than 30 million people live in this region, including around 1.5 million indigenous people and more than 5 million people of African descent.
During a separate assembly session on Thursday, the Women Growing Together in America initiative, a program developed in partnership with the private sector to encourage women entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean to engage in foreign trade and business, was also launched on Thursday integrate regional value chains.
“Supporting entrepreneurs and business owners in Latin America and the Caribbean is helping the region’s economic development,” said Maren Lau, Facebook regional vice president for Latin America. “We are confident that through education and financial inclusion women can expand the opportunities and reach of their business and ultimately contribute to economic reactivation.”
According to IDB data, companies run by women are less involved in foreign trade and in global and regional value chains compared to their male counterparts.
The coronavirus pandemic has now exacerbated the challenges they have already faced, including low use and adoption of information technology and limited access to finance.
The Women Who Are America Growing Together program aims to help women entrepreneurs overcome these barriers by connecting them to real business opportunities and providing them with innovative tools to improve their business.
This is the fifth time Colombia has hosted an annual IDB meeting. The previous events took place in Bogota (1968), Cartagena (1982 and 1998) and Medellin (2009). EFE
afs / mc