Posts Tagged ‘World Bank’

Last week, over Thanksgiving, it’s safe to say that some Latin Americans may have given thanks for increased cooperation among countries in the region.

Venezuela hosted a summit of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for the America) last Wednesday in Caracas which brought together the leaders of member countries Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba, and Dominica. Also in attendance was President Correa of Ecuador.

Among the initiatives proposed by Venezuela was the creation of a common currency. President Chavez said it could act as “a monetary zone of solidarity-based commercial exchange” to reduce dependence on the U.S. and financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank.

Read news articles here and here, or check out the ALBA declaration issued November 26th in Spanish here.


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The Bank of the South (or in Spanish, Banco del Sur) is an institution that promises to help Latin American countries help themselves.

Founded late last year, the Bank has just announced it will begin operations with US$10 billion in startup capital. This amount may climb to as much as $20 billion. Each country’s contribution is directly proportionate to the size of its economy. Member states are Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (see their economy ministers pictured here).

What are the benefits? The new Bank of the South gives countries a new option for how to finance development programs. Priority areas are infrastructure, industry, housing, transportation, and human capacity-building.

Most importantly, the Bank creates an opportunities for cooperation and mutual assistance among countries in the region. Instead of relying on financial institutions like the IMF, which issued loans tied to policy demands, nations can soon borrow on their own terms.

Read more about the IMF’s decline in Latin America in the this report and this opinion piece.

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By now you’ve probably heard it said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez likes nothing more than to “snub” the United States whenever possible.

What you may not have heard is that, most of the time, his policy initiatives are considered genuine attempts at fostering economic development for Venezuela and other countries in the region.

One such effort, the ALBA Bank, is being launched in Venezuela this weekend with government representatives from Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba. The ALBA Bank could begin with as much as $1.5 billion in capital to fund social programs and regional economic development, according to Venezuelan officials.

The bank is being inaugurated as part of the activities of the sixth summit of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas). It was also announced today that ALBA will include a cultural fund used to promote the production of books, movies, and fine arts in the member countries. The cultural fund will help preserve the popular and folk cultures that are unique to each country.

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