Latin American Challenges in the Wake of COVID: Brookings Discussion with Secretary General of the Organization of American States

On June 22, Brookings hosted a virtual conversation with Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) H.E. Luis Almagro to discuss his second term and the challenges and opportunities facing Latin America.  

The COVID-19 crises has severely impacted Latin America as the region has become the epicenter of the pandemic. Deaths due to COVID-19 account for 45% of all global deaths despite the fact that the region makes up 8.5% of the world’s population. According to World Bank estimations, the region’s GDP is expected to contract by 7.2 percent in 2020. The ripple effects of these health and economic crises will only be exacerbated by other issues such as “extreme inequality, weak safety nets, high levels of urbanization and labor informality, fragile fiscal positions, and relatively weak democracies.”  

The discussion explored the role of OES in development policies, including the need to pursue international consensus building to develop rule of law and fight corruption, to strengthen corporation partnerships and cooperation, increase support for smaller enterprises, and pursue increased foreign aid for technology capacities. Additionally the need for enhanced democratic institutions allowing for more accountability and transparency was discussed as a way to ensure transparency and money management due to corruption.