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Multiple crises in the Latin American past, including severe banking crises, have been accompanied by sharp and persistent devaluations. This time around, the impressively large currency depreciations (over 50 percent in some countries) resulting from the ongoing commodity price shock and volatile international capital markets have resulted in contraction in output growth (and even recession in Brazil), but no financial crisis.
Why not? And can Latin America muddle through this episode of adverse international conditions and avoid the severe financial crises that distinguished the region in the 1980s and 1990s? Or will cumulative shocks eventually expose domestic financial vulnerabilities and cause severe crises to ensue?
In a short report accompanying the event, CLAAF members will seek to answer these questions, as well as:
Will an eventual increase in the Fed’s rates be the straw that breaks the camel's back in the region or will the expected series of small Fed rate hikes calm markets and induce a renewal of inflows to Latin America?
Increased flexibility in exchange rates has certainly helped absorb external shocks in the region. But, as most Latin American countries lack strong institutional quality, has this policy unintentionally resulted in a false sense of security and fostered postponement of needed reforms in other key areas?
Is now the time for tight monetary/fiscal policies even if they are pro-cyclical?
Guillermo Calvo, Professor, Columbia University; former Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank Carmen Reinhart, Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System at Harvard Kennedy School Liliana Rojas-Suarez, President, CLAAF and Senior Fellow and Director, Latin America Initiative, Center for Global Development Laura Alfaro, Professor, Harvard Business School; former Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica Pedro Carvalho de Mello, Professor, Universidade de Sao Paulo; former Commissioner, Comissao de Valores Mobiliarios, Brazil Roque Fernandez, Professor, Universidad del CEMA; former Minister of Finance, Argentina Pablo Guidotti Dean and Professor, School of Government, Universidad Torcuato di Tella; Former Vice-Minister of Finance, Argentina Enrique Mendoza, Presidential Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Penn Institute for Economic Research Guillermo Perry, Non-resident fellow, Center for Global Development; Professor, Universidad de los Andes; Former Minister of Finance, Colombia Ernesto Talvi, Director of the Brookings-CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative
For over a decade, Boko Haram has waged a campaign of terror across northeastern Nigeria. In 2014, the kidnapping of 276 girls in Chibok shocked the world, giving rise to the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Yet Boko Haram’s campaign of violence against women and girls goes far beyond the Chibok abductions. From its inception, the group has systematically exploited women to advance its aims. Perhaps more disturbing still, some Nigerian women have chosen to become active supporters of the group, even sacrificing their lives as suicide bombers. These events cannot be understood without first acknowledging the long-running marginalization of women in Nigerian society. Having conducted extensive fieldwork throughout the region, Matfess provides a vivid and thought-provoking account of Boko Haram’s impact on the lives of Nigerian women, as well as the wider social and political context that fuels the group’s violence.
In Navigation by Judgment, Dan Honig argues that high-quality implementation of foreign aid programs often requires contextual information that cannot be seen by those in distant headquarters. Tight controls and a focus on reaching pre-set measurable targets often prevent front-line workers from using skill, local knowledge, and creativity to solve problems in ways that maximize the impact of foreign aid.
As part of the G7 meetings, Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau will host a meeting of G7 Development Ministers – the first of its kind since 2010. In preparation for that meeting, Minister Bibeau will join the Center for Global Development to discuss the priorities for this global development summit. In particular, she will discuss the importance of advancing the empowerment of adolescent girls including their central role in eradicating poverty and the need to move towards gender-responsive approaches to humanitarian assistance.
Intensive and potentially unethical marketing of infant formula is believed to be responsible for millions of infant deaths in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), yet to date there have been no rigorous analyses that quantify these effects. Paul Gertler and colleagues drew on a sample of 2.48 million births in 46 countries, indicating that the introduction of Nestlé infant formula, the largest supplier worldwide, may have resulted in approximately 66,000 infant deaths in LMICs in 1981—the peak of the infant formula controversy—among households without clean water access. This suggests that unclean water inappropriately mixed into formula acted as a vector for the transmission of water-borne pathogens to infants.
Economic recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is gaining momentum, but more work is needed to ensure growth is both sustainable and inclusive. Looking ahead, activity is expected to gather further momentum—reflecting stronger demand at home and a supportive external environment. But there are still challenges ahead. Risks to the region’s outlook reflect internal factors as well as heightened external risks—notably, a shift towards more protectionist policies and a sudden tightening of global financial conditions. Additionally, longer-term growth prospects for Latin America and the Caribbean remain subdued.