Open Youth Dialogue with the Vicepresident of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean

Quintana Roo, Mexico, June 26, 2017 - For the second consecutive year and as part of the activities of the Finals of the2017 Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas (TIC Americas), young people from all Latin America and the Caribbean had the opportunity to participate in an Open Dialogue with Jorge Familiar, Vicepresident of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The session, moderated by Valerie Lorena, Executive Director of the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), allowed young people to gain a deeper understanding of the socio-economic situation and projection of the region, the session had a space for youth to establish a conversation in which theycommunicated their priorities, dreams and concerns to Mr. Familiar.

"We have to create an environment in which where an individual is born, does not define where the rest of his life will be," said Jorge Familiar echoing with those young people in the region in search for opportunities and engines of growth to overcome poverty and "turning their genius ideas into productive and competitive realities," he emphasized in reference to the TIC Americas finalist entrepreneurs in the room.

Subjects such as economic growth, access to quality education, as well as the transition of youth to the labor market, were the most outstanding in the Open Dialogue. Adapting economies to the new reality was one of the ideas that resonated most with the youth, recognizing the need for a concerted response between the public and private sectors as well as civil society to achieve prosperity, not only in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also in the rest of the world.

Finalists of the TIC Americas Startup Challenge category, including Lisa from the City Wallet team from Venezuela and Zaid from MediPrint from Mexico, raised questions such as: What is the World Bank's agenda for education focused on technology to build a competitive economy? And what would have to change in public policy in order to have more "unicorn" startups in Latin America and the Caribbean?

The World Bank Vicepresident for Latin America and the Caribbean responded to these questions and many others with great openness about the Bank's development agenda that is aligned with young people’s concerns. He emphasized the need to diversify the economy, something that according to his words "does not happen by magic, it is key to generate the necessary conditions for better value chains".

On the other hand, in response to those questions focused on the entrepreneurial development of the region in particular, he highlighted the opportunity to implement more and better financing mechanisms for startups. He stressed that there is still a long way to go, where the possibility to learn from models implemented in other countries is real, but especially there is a challenge to promote regional integration to generate greater liquidity.

In response to more questions from youth, he conveyed that investing in infrastructure that connects us best as a region is crucial. At the same time, a strong focus on human capital and social protection is needed, since these are fundamental pillars of the fight against inequality and the creation of sustainable opportunities for the environment and society.

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