“Spain cannot miss the opportunity to be a bridge between Latin America and Europe”

“Spain cannot miss the opportunity to be a bridge between Latin America and Europe”

2023-05-29 01:07:46

Spain as a link between Latin America and Europe at a time of uncertainty in which the private sector will be key to strengthening the link that has already existed for years between both regions. This is the basis on which, from this Tuesday, May 30, to June 1, the VI Congress of the Alliance for Ibero-America Business Council (CEAPI) will be held, which will bring together more than 300 presidents of leading companies and business families, as well as institutional representatives from both sides of the Atlantic.

The participants in the meeting, which will be inaugurated by King Felipe VI and closed by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will analyze current economic, commercial, business and investment news in the region during the conference. All under the focus of the Spanish presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. «Spain cannot miss this opportunity. The moment is now”, says Núria Vilanova, president of the Alliance for Ibero-America Business Council (CEAPI).

In an interview given to this medium prior to the Congress, Vilanova recalls that our country, which in recent years has stood out as a powerful business force in Latin America, has now also become a recipient of investment from the region, which strengthens that role link with Europe.

Especially at a time when we are beginning to see the entry of new actors into the region. “India, Korea, France or Italy are increasing their penetration efforts, also using the diplomacy of development projects”, explains Vilanova. “Also the United Kingdom, which now – after Brexit – is much more aware of the importance of the region and has even created a commissioner for relations between the two,” she adds.

At this point, the president of CEAPI recalls that relations with Latin America have historically been built through the companies that invested there. «Spanish companies have learned to be global by settling in the region. That experience helped them make the leap to other markets such as the US, and even the rest of Europe, Asia, etc.» she explains her. And she recalls that this interest from other countries means that “strategic opportunities continue to be detected.”

For this reason, he insists that “we cannot miss the opportunity for Spain to serve as a bridge not only to continue receiving investments from Latin America, but also to channel investments through companies for these countries that have now focused on investment in the region”. “In addition, for the first time we are seeing the reverse, bidirectional flow, in which Spain is the country chosen for investment by important Latin American companies,” he adds.

Beyond the benefit

The role of Spain in this scenario goes far beyond the purely business sphere, in terms of business and benefits. Vilanova recalls that geostrategy is playing a key factor in the change in recent years.

Without going any further, with the projects derived from European funds that, as indicated, “need 200,000 new employees who are not in Spain today, so the change in the demographic cycle in the world makes it important to attract talent again” . In this context, the relationship with Latin America will once again be crucial for the national economy.

Inequality is not profitable

From CEAPI they will also give special importance to the role of the company as a promoter of equality in these countries. Under the slogan ‘inequality is not profitable’, the Congress will analyze the long-term problems that this situation can pose for the companies that operate there. «We have to work to be profitable, but also to be fairer. It is absolutely essential to invest more in education, in health, in infrastructures, roads, telecommunications…”, indicates Vilanova.

The directive recalls that many of the Ibero-American states have scarce resources to carry out social policies. “These are countries that have up to 70% of the informal economy that does not pay taxes,” he explains. “We cannot leave the Government alone in this transformation challenge, because we are all interested in change since, in an environment in which things are not going well, companies cannot progress,” he insists. The objective? Collaborate in the transformation towards equal opportunities.

Thus, another of the points to be discussed in the Congress will be the advancement of women in the Ibero-American business sector. “There is still a lot to do, but we have come a long way. Before, companies were inherited by children and women dedicated themselves to social projects. But that has changed and they are occupying the role that corresponds to them in the family business, “says Vilanova.

Among the Spanish speakers at this VI Ibero-American CEAPI Business Congress are Isidoro J. Alanís, founder and executive president of the Global Exchange group; Carlos Aso, general director of Andbank; Vicente Boluda Ceballos Jr., Vice President of Grupo Boluda; Ana Botella, president of the Integra Foundation; Ismael Clemente, CEO of Merlin Properties; Manuel Contreras Caro, president of the Azvi Group; Beatriz Corredor, president of Redeia; Elena Foguet Plaza, business director of Value Retail; Jordi Hereu, president of Hispasat; Antonio Huertas, president of Mapfre; Emiliano López Atxurra, President of Petronor and director of REPSOL; Candelas Martin de Cabiedes, director of Europa Press Madrid; Jaume Miquel Naudí, president and CEO and of TENDAM; Josep Oliu, president of Banco Sabadell; Eloi Planes, CEO of Fluidra; Javier Targhetta Roza, CEO of Atlantic Copper and Javier Tebas, President of Tebas Medrano, among many others.

The panels will examine the future scenarios that Ibero-America faces, incorporating topics of debate such as EU-Latin American relations, the importance of closing the infrastructure gap in Latam; the relationship between raw materials and safety; the future of the family business; the energy transition, the idea that inequality is not profitable and investment as a driver of change. The Congress will also reflect on business and politics; football and social impact, innovation and AI.

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