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Honduras: “Equitable” Development up for Debate at Commerce Summit

By: María Gabriela Díaz - Mar 21, 2014, 12:39 pm

EspañolToday Honduras hosts the Latin-American Businesses Council (CEAL) summit. Businessmen from 16 countries — alongside presidents, ex-presidents, and experts — will debate “development with equity: the foundation for social peace.”

The members of the organization and the rest of attendees will gather in Bahía de Tela, Atlántida, to share their ideas about the importance of investment as a means to generate employment and reduce poverty and social inequality in Latin-American nations.

CEAL-logo
Source: CEAL.

The organization, created in 1990, is a network of Latin-American businessmen with one purpose: to encourage exchange and cooperation among members on ways in which the private sector can contribute towards socioeconomic progress in the region.

President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández will attend the summit, joined by Camilo Atala, president of CEAL-Honduras, and Mauricio Oliva, president of the National Congress. This will be the first time that Honduras hosts a CEAL summit, and “this kind of event shows that the country is projecting itself to the world with a different image,” Atala asserted.

In addition to pushing forward one of the most ambitious projects in the region, such as the Economic Development and Employment Zones (ZEDEs), the government of Honduras has shown a great desire to present their jurisdiction as investment-friendly. Mauricio Oliva, president of the National Congress, emphasized: “Our country is open to investment, and now welcomes a big group of businessmen in an event of great international relevance.”

In this series of discussion panels, former president of Spain, José María Aznar, will open the conference with the “pursuit of egalitarian development in the government-business relationship.” Afterwards, the Honduran president, joined by his counterparts of Guatemala and Panama, Otto Pérez Molina and Ricardo Martinelli, respectively, will talk about LEAP innovation as the new Latin-American instrument to compete against Asia.

Juan José Daboub, former general director of the World Bank, will perform as moderator in this second panel, which will discuss the potential benefits of exclusive economic zones, such as ZEDEs, for economic growth.

Panelists will discuss a range of topics such as political trends in Latin America, and the participation of the private sector as a means for development and equity. The prominent economist, Paul Collier, joined by Ian Walker, representative of the Inter-American Development Bank will host the workshop “The road towards development and the opening of opportunities.”

On behalf of the private sector, Carmen Elena Sol, president of CEAL El Salvador, Alejandro Reynal, president of CEAL Argentina and Uruguay, James Higgins, director of CEAL Ecuador, and Marcel Granier and Carlos Enrique Gabaldon, representatives from Venezuela’s private sector will attend. The summit also notes the participation of representatives from other countries such as Brazil, Colombia, United States, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama.

CEAL’s executive coordinator for Honduras, Victoria Asfura, commented on the implications that come with the presence of a summit of this kind in the country: “This event portrays Honduras in a better way in the eyes of the business opinion, when they see that we are hosting a meeting this important that seeks ways to improve our countries.”

According to Asfura, these kind of events represent a window of opportunity to attract new investors. The executive director pointed out that “CEAL’s summit can attract new investments in the country, because you can see the private sector’s interest in supporting the country. It’s an important message that no country can develop without the cooperation of all sectors.”

María Gabriela Díaz María Gabriela Díaz

María Gabriela Díaz reported from Caracas, Venezuela, and led the PanAm Post internship program. She has a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a focus in international affairs.