Event Recaps

As Mexican voters grow increasingly discontent with years of corruption and unequal economic growth, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the anti-establishment candidate in Mexico’s upcoming presidential elections, holds tightly to his lead in the polls. At a crucial moment for Mexico’s trade under NAFTA and US-Mexico relations, six years of AMLO could mark a turning point for the country’s future. But if he does not win, what can Mexico, and the world, expect from the other leading candidates? For the second in a three-part conversation series with advisers to each of the top presidential candidates, the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, in collaboration with the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, hosted Sergio Alcocer, government program coordinator for José Antonio Meade of the Todos por México coalition, for a dynamic discussion about the proposals of the presidential candidate who is currently in third place.

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On Friday, April 20, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center launched two new policy briefs that tackle the complexities of disruptive technology and innovation in Africa. Authored by Aleksandra Gadzala, Atlantic Council senior fellow, “Fintech: Powering Inclusive Growth in Africa” seeks to help investors and policymakers better understand the waves of financial technology (fintech) innovation unfolding in sub-Saharan Africa, while “3D Printing: Shaping Africa’s Future” catalogues the experiences of countries around the world facing the challenges of widespread 3D printing adoption.

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On April 20, the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program hosted a panel discussion on financial inclusion of women, featuring The Hon. Siv Jensen, Minister of Finance of Sweden; The Hon. Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Minister of Finance of Latvia; and Mr. Yannick Glenmarec, the Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director for Policy at UN Women. The event was moderated by Laura Lane, President of Global Affairs at UPS. Welcome remarks were provided by Ms. Capricia Marshall, Ambassador in Residence at the Atlantic Council. 
On Friday, March 20, 2018, the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program hosted a lunch discussion with Mr. Vazil Hudák, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB). The discussion centered on investment in ‘Smart Cities’. The private event was part of the Global Business and Economics Program’s Eurogrowth Initiative.

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On Thursday, April 19, 2018, the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program hosted Eurogroup President and Portuguese Finance Minister Mário Centeno, who delivered a speech on completing the European project. The event was hosted as part of the Global Business and Economics Program’s Eurogrowth initiative.

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On Wednesday, April 18, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, in partnership with the Global Business & Economics Program, hosted a discussion with Mr. Lesetja Kganyago, governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Dr. J. Peter Pham, Atlantic Council vice president and Africa Center director, and Mr. Bart Oosterveld, C. Boyden Grey fellow on global finance and growth and Global Business & Economics Program director, welcomed participants. Mr. Brian C. McK. Henderson, Atlantic Council treasurer, introduced Kganyago, with whom he had worked earlier in the central banker’s career.

In his remarks, Kganyago addressed the issue of South Africa’s fiscal resilience, and how the country is positioned to deal with shocks from the global economy. He laid out how strong fiscal institutions and a healthy regulatory regime allowed South Africa to weather the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession while many countries fared poorly. As the global economy has recovered, so too has South Africa, rebuilding its economic buffers, reining in inflation, and reducing its debt to GDP ratio.

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On Wednesday, March 18, 2018, the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics program, together with the Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center, hosted a private roundtable discussion with Dr. Tiago Couto Berriel, Deputy Governor of the Brazilian Central Bank.

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On Wednesday, April 18, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a roundtable with Dr. John Panonetsa Mangudya, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

Dr. Mangudya presented a summary of Zimbabwe’s macroeconomic environment, highlighting a declining inflation rate, more diversified exports, and excellent human capital within the context of recent political and economic change. He elaborated numerous opportunities for investment and growth in Zimbabwe, including unexploited mineral deposits—particularly gold and platinum—and significant tourism potential.

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On July 1st, Mexican voters will go to the polls to elect the leader of the second-largest economy in Latin America and a key commercial and security ally to the US. The 2018 presidential elections come at a pivotal moment for contentious economic and social issues in Mexico, US-Mexico bilateral relations, and the implementation of a renegotiated NAFTA. In the first of a three-part conversation series with advisers to each of the top presidential candidates, the Atlantic Council, in collaboration with the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, hosted Graciela Márquez Colín, economic adviser to presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) of the Juntos Haremos Historia coalition and research professor at Colegio de México, for an insightful conversation about the priorities and proposals of the leading candidate.

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On Friday, April 13, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a roundtable with Mr. Albert Yuma Mulimbi, chairman of Gécamines and president of the Congolese Business Federation (Fédération des Entreprises du Congo).

In his prepared remarks (official document attached), Mr. Yuma emphasized the importance of the mining industry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the overall wellbeing of the country, calling it the “lungs” of the Congolese economy. He highlighted the 2017 production figures of DRC’s most profitable minerals, including copper, cobalt, and coltan, but stressed that the industry was not benefitting the Congolese people as much as it should. According to the speaker, the new Congolese mining code seeks to change this, increasing taxes on profits from 30 to 35 percent and royalties from 2 to 3.5 percent for copper and cobalt, and expanding the government’s stake in new mining projects from 5 to 10 percent. Mr. Yuma acknowledged the concerns expressed by some of the world’s largest mining companies in response to the new mining code, but emphasized that profits should increase once the new code is introduced and the DRC reputation as an attractive mining destination should not be tarnished.

A discussion, moderated by Dr. J. Peter Pham, Atlantic Council vice president and Africa Center director, followed Yuma’s remarks, with participants focusing on the transparency of the mining industry’s supply chains and networks in the DRC and the various ways in which civil society concerns would or would not be incorporated in the country’s policies.

The delegation accompanying Mr. Yuma also included H.E. François Nkuna Balumuene, Ambassador of the DRC to the United States; Mr. Patrick Thierry André Kakwata, Member of the Congolese National Assembly and Chairman of the Natural Resources and Environmental Commission; Mr. Henri-Thomas Lokondo, Member of the Congolese National Assembly; and Amb. Barnabé Kikaya bin Karubi, Senior Diplomatic Advisor to DRC President Joseph Kabila. Also in attendance and participating in the roundtable were Atlantic Council Board Director Amb. Jendayi Frazer, Former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Ms. Florizelle Liser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Council on Africa; and a number of US and non-US government officials and mining industry experts.