GUSTAVO CISNEROS has dedicated his life to creating businesses, mainly in media and entertainment A natural-born entrepreneur, knowledgeable about the region and what it means to innovate in the media, in this interview he analyzes the issues that he believes must top the agenda for progress in Latin America: education, entrepreneurship, property rights, technological innovation, fighting against corruption, and strengthening democracy. He also places a priority on finding how the region can reinvent itself to move forward and overcome the inertia of an economy that's based on raw materials.
What do you think of the ongoing dependence of Latin America and the Caribbean on raw materials?
The countries of the region that are rich in minerals and hydrocarbons have a tremendous opportunity to exploit their natural resources. Bolivia, for example, could have taken advantage of the commodities boom--as Peru and Chile did--to attract more investment and increase its per capita income, possibly by 20 or 30 percent. The Dominican Republic has opened the doors to mining investment, while Haiti, which is right next door, practically in the same mineral vein, has yet to approve a regulatory framework that favors investment. Exploiting commodities intelligently is better than not exploiting them at all. The fundamental issue is that countries must guarantee property rights in this and in all sectors. Today, the Dominican Republic is doing better than Bolivia, and is on a par with Peru and Chile in this respect.
What other countries are doing well in relation to property rights and the regulatory framework?
Argentina. The Mauricio Macri government is making important efforts to attract investment in the mining sector and I think that, for this reason, mining will become an important driver of growth for the Argentine economy over the next few years. Chile remains a model to emulate. Chile was able to transform its economy, initially based on commodities, and then managed to diversify it and strengthened the middle class. We must aim for that. Generally speaking, the countries of the region must look more like Australia, Canada, and the United States in these issues and change their attitude about the openness that they must have toward the mining and energy industries.
Property rights and a regulatory framework are basic steps, but what will we do about problems like growing corruption?
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