Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Chile in mid-December on a tour that corresponded with a meeting of the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC) finance leaders in Chile.
During her visit, Lagarde met with Chile’s president Sebastian Piñera, the National Goods Minister, Felipe Larraín, and president of Chile’s Banco Central, Rodrigo Vergara. She also participated in a town hall style Q&A for economy students at Universidad de Chile called “Chile’s Next Generation asks the IMF.”
“It has been a pleasure to visit Chile. I had very productive meetings,” Lagarde said in a statement after her visit. “Chile’s strong economic policy framework, including a fiscal rule, inflation targeting, and exchange rate flexibility has underpinned the economy’s resilience in the face of the global financial crisis and the devastating earthquake in February 2010.”
Chile’s economic resilience has continued to surprise the international financial community. It’s annual growth rate is currently over 5 percent, leading experts to anticipate it will reach ‘developed nation status’ even before 2018, the government’s official goal.
Besides steady economic growth, Chile recently tied with Uruguay as the least corrupt nation in Latin America, according to The Corruption Perceptions Index’s 2012 study. Chile ranked 20th in the world for least corrupt nations.
The CELAC conference held in Viña del Mar rallied economic leaders throughout the region towards sustainability and economic independence from global influences. Held on December 14, this was the first international CELAC summit of its kind.
“We must grow independently of the United States and Europe in order to continue to prosper,” Piñera, who is also the pro-tempore president of CELAC, declared to the press alongside Lagarde.
“Chile is clearly one of the most stable and prosperous nations in South America – as I would say, one of the best students in the class,” Lagarde told the press.
CELAC-EU Presidential Summit Jan. 25- 27
Lagarde’s visit to Chile and the meeting of CELAC finance ministers preempt the prestigious CELAC – EU Presidential Summit to be held at the end of January in Santiago. Leading up to the event, financial ministers, business leaders, and foreign ministers from CELAC-EU are holding a series of meetings to determine the agenda of the presidential summit. The event aims to grow direct European investment into Latin American economies with the goal of building mutually beneficial relationships.