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The COVID-19 Attack on Latin America: Proposals for an Effective Response


According to IMF and World Bank forecasts, Latin America will be the most affected region by the COVID-19 crisis in terms of economic growth. Varying degrees of lockdowns and the shock to trade, commodity, prices, tourism, and remittances from the pandemic – exacerbated by already weak health systems and a large informal sector – have combined to make Latin America all the more vulnerable.

Overall, Latin America’s response has been insufficient in multiple policy dimensions: health, fiscal, monetary, and financial. Against this backdrop, the Latin American Committee on Macroeconomic and Financial Issues (CLAAF) will discuss countries’ options to deal with the crisis and advance policy recommendations and the necessary funding. Members of the Committee include former finance ministers, former central bank governors, other high-level economic officials, and academics from across the region.

Central issues to be discussed include:

  • How much funding does the region need to adequately respond to the pandemic?
  • How can existing domestic resources be best channeled to support households and firms?
  • What is the role of multilateral organizations? Can regional solutions complement the, so far, limited support from the international community?


  • Laura Alfaro, Warren Albert Professor, Harvard Business School. Former Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica.
  • Guillermo A. Calvo, Professor of Economics, International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Former Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Roque Benjamín Fernández, Director, Fund for the Promotion of Research, CEMA University. Former Minister of Finance, Argentina.
  • Paulo Leme, Professor of Finance, University of Miami; Former CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs do Brasil Banco Multiplo S.A.
  • José de Gregorio, Professor of Economics, University of Chile. Former Governor, Central Bank of Chile.
  • Augusto de la Torre, Former Chief Economist for Latin American and the Caribbean, The World Bank. Former Governor, Central Bank of Ecuador.
  • Pablo Guidotti, Professor of Economics, School of Government, University Torcuato Di Tella. Former Vice Minister of Finance, Argentina.
  • Enrique Mendoza, Presidential Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania. Director, Penn Institute for Economic Research.
  • Liliana Rojas-Suarez, President, CLAAF; Director of the Latin American Initiative and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development; Former Chief Economist for Latin America, Deutsche Bank.
  • Andrés Velasco, Dean of the School of Public Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science. Former Minister of Finance of Chile.
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