LATIN AMERICA – The World Bank (WB) published its global growth predictions for 2009, forecasting a 0.6 percent decrease in Latin America and the Caribbean compared to 2008.
The figures were released just days before the G20 summit where the world's top 20 economies plus emerging countries including Argentina, Brazil and Mexico met on 2 April in London to define joint strategies.
According to AP, President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva of Brazil, President Felipe Calderón of Mexico and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina stated that their countries were suffering the consequences of a crisis they did not cause. They came to the summit in London to seek reforms to the world's financial system and to request extraordinary aid for emerging countries from international credit institutions, as well as representation in the decision-making process.
Brazil, Argentina and Mexico had already made it clear that they would join forces in their demands during the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) general meeting which concluded on 31 March in Medellín, Colombia.
Argentina’s IDB representative Eugenio Díaz Bonilla told ABC Color, “[Argentina] will ask international organisations to increase their loan capacity to help [Latin America and other developing regions]”.
Mexico's Revenue Ministry spokesman Rodrigo Brand De Lara, told EFE that President Felipe Calderón would propose “speeding up loan approvals,” and “the availability of a substantial short-term line of credit for emerging countries”.
Across the developing world, we see that conditions of recession are affecting the poorest people, making them even more vulnerable than before to sudden shocks, but also reducing opportunities available to them and frustrating their hopes,” said World Bank Chief Economist Justin Yifu Lin to AP in Washington.
In 2008 Latin American economies grew 4.3 percent on average compared to 2007 and the World Bank's latest estimate for 2009 points to a downturn of 0.6 percent, contrasting with predictions in November 2008 of 2.1 percent growth, reported EFE. According to the WB Global Economic Perspectives report, however, in 2010 the region could begin to grow again by up to 2.2 percent.
Also, according to the report, Brazil will be one of the few Latin American countries to escape the recession this year with growth projected at 0.5 percent in 2009 and 3.2 percent in 2010. On the other hand, Mexico's economy will shrink by 2 percent in 2009, recovering 1.8 percent growth in 2010, while Argentina is expected to experience a 1.8 percent drop in 2009 followed by a predicted 1.9 percent rise in 2010.
Overall, reported EFE, the World Bank predicts that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in developing countries would decline this year, dropping from 5.8 percent growth in 2008 to 2.1 percent before the end of 2009.