UK, House of Lord: Unlocking Latin America's Extraordinary Economic Potential: Insights from Ambassador Natalia Royo de Hagerman
The culmination of this year's agenda for the Conservative Foreign & Commonwealth Council (CFCC) concluded with a remarkable dinner hosted by Baroness Hooper CMG. The guest of honor at this prestigious event was none other than the Ambassador of the Republic of Panama, HE Natalia Royo de Hagerman. Ambassador Royo de Hagerman shed light on the vast potential of Latin America in her address titled "Can Politics in Latin America Release the Continent's Extraordinary Economic Potential?" This thought-provoking presentation was orchestrated by Melissa Crawshay-Williams and sponsored by Grozeo, providing a platform for distinguished guests from the political and business.
In attendance were prominent figures, including Rt Hon Baroness Neville-Jones, Rt Hon Lord Taylor of Holbeach CBE, Martin Barrow, Rosie Beattie, Max Bruckner, Jill Burge, Carole Cohen, Barbara Dingle, Sherrel Fikeis, June Fleet, Dr. Robert Frew, Peter Friedmann, Gerard Hargreaves, Yvonne Harrop, Robert Hutchinson, Billy James, Neil Jones, Simone Kent, Julia Kernick, Trevor Lee, Danielle Mackenzie, Nicolas Maclean, Nupur Majumdar, Sarah O’Connell, Graham Old, Sumon Ahmed - Grozeo, Elvijs Plugis - Grozeo, , David Quirke-Thornton, Rebeca Riofrio, Adam Rynhold, David Scott, Richard Semitego, Joanne Share-Bernia, Paulette Siniska, Philippa Snowdon, Henry Tillman, Maxinne Torrents, Stuart Tranter, Melissa Vangeen, David Ward, Johnny Wheeler, Vishakh Asok Kumar, and Sue Whiting.
Baroness Hooper, presented Ambassador of the Republic of Panama, HE Natalia Royo de Hagerman who gave an speech on Panama - Latin America's economic potential.
A Legacy of Visionary Leadership:
In her address, Ambassador Royo de Hagerman began by paying tribute to George Canning, the former British Foreign Secretary, who foresaw the pivotal role that Latin America would play in global politics. She highlighted his contributions to the independence of Latin American countries and his visionary outlook on the region's political and economic significance. George Canning's foresight has indeed come to fruition as Latin America now represents a market of over 650 million people and accounts for approximately 8% of the world's GDP.
Ambassador Royo de Hagerman went on to emphasize the environmental wealth of Latin America. The region boasts a staggering 60% of the world's land and water species, making it one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. Moreover, Latin America possesses abundant water resources, hosting the highest water endowment per capita globally. Notably, the Amazon rainforest, the world's largest, absorbs substantial amounts of carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change mitigation. In this context, Panama stands out as one of the world's few carbon-negative nations.
Marine Conservation and Agriculture:
Panama's commitment to environmental stewardship extends to its leadership in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor, which, in collaboration with other nations, creates the world's largest marine protected area. Additionally, Latin America is an agricultural powerhouse, providing sustenance to approximately 10% of the global population. Its fertile soils and mild climates have made agriculture a cornerstone of the region's economy, with exports such as coffee, cacao, fresh fruits, and fisheries garnering global recognition.
Renewable Energy Leadership:
Latin America has emerged as a leader in clean energy, with renewable sources, particularly hydroelectric power, accounting for 60% of the region's electricity production—twice the global average. Panama, in particular, has earned recognition as an "energy transition champion," with 97% of its energy deriving from renewable sources, ranking it eighth in the world for clean energy production.
Mining for a Sustainable Future:
Ambassador Royo de Hagerman underscored the pivotal role of mining in Latin America's transition to a green and sustainable economy. The region possesses abundant mineral resources, including copper, lithium, and nickel, essential for renewable energy and electric transportation. However, responsible and sustainable mining practices are vital to balance economic benefits with environmental preservation and community well-being.
The Case of Panama:
The Ambassador cited Panama's experience, where public sentiment and environmental concerns led to the Supreme Court ruling against an open-pit copper mine contract. This decision, although potentially economically challenging, illustrates the importance of considering social and environmental factors in mining operations.
Inequality remains a significant challenge in Latin America, despite its vast resources. Structural inequality, lack of social mobility, wealth concentration, and racial discrimination continue to hinder progress. Ambassador Royo de Hagerman emphasized the need for policies that focus on education, job creation, tax reform, financial inclusion, and income distribution to reduce inequality and promote sustainable development.
A Call for Partnership:
In conclusion, Ambassador Natalia Royo de Hagerman urged the international community, including the United Kingdom, to engage actively in Latin America's economic transformation. She stressed the importance of responsible foreign investment and forward-thinking, democratic governance to unlock the region's full potential. The Ambassador's address serves as a compelling call to action, highlighting the immense opportunities that await those willing to invest in a more equitable and sustainable Latin America.
Latin America's extraordinary economic potential can be realized through a collaborative effort that combines vision, responsible resource management, and a commitment to social equality. As we move forward, it is clear that Latin America's future is intrinsically linked to the well-being of its people, the preservation of its environment, and the responsible harnessing of its abundant resources.
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