What you should know
- PAHO: Dr. Jarbas Barbosa took office on February 1 as the health organization’s new director, pledging to work in partnership with member states to end the pandemic and ensure that the region’s health systems recover stronger than before.
- IMF: The organization raised its global growth forecast to 2.9 percent, up from its original 2.7 percent. The outlook is also better for the region’s two major economies: up 0.2 percent for Brazil, to 1.2 percent, and a half point for Mexico, to 1.7 percent.
- Migration: The 250,000 migrants that irregularly crossed into Panama through the Darien Gap in 2022 represents a record high that is nearly double the 133,000 entries recorded in 2021.
Monitoring economic headwinds and tailwinds in the region
- Mexico: The national statistics agency reported that the economy grew 0.4 percent in Q4 of 2022 compared to the previous quarter.
- Argentina: The government will leverage new gas exports to Chile, and potentially Brazil, to improve its trade balance and pay down debt.
- Brazil: Alongside Argentina, the government is floating the development of a common currency linking the two countries to facilitate trade.
- Colombia: The Minister of Mines and Energy Irene Velez announced at Davos that the country will no longer approve new oil and gas exploration contracts.
- Jamaica: Third-quarter GDP grew by 5.9 percent over 2022 due to a resurgent tourism sector, which has boosted hotels, restaurants, and services, among other sectors.
- Peru: Ongoing protests and road blockades have cost the country $550 million since the ousting of President Pedro Castillo last December.
- Transatlantic ties: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, to discuss the EU-Mercosur trade agreement and support for Ukraine.
In focus: Energy expansion in Trinidad and Tobago
On January 24, the United States licensed Trinidad and Tobago to develop a natural gas project off the coast of Venezuela in the Dragon field region. The project will support overall Caribbean energy security, with a requirement that some of the produced gas must be exported to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. To comply with US sanctions, Trinidad will pay for the gas with humanitarian aid.
Atlantic Council experts reacted immediately, emphasizing the importance of this move towards meeting Caribbean energy demand. You can read more here.
Health + Innovation
- Haiti: As of January 17, the Ministry of Public Health and Population has reported over 24,400 suspected cholera cases.
- Education: A World Bank study shows that by 2045, nearly 5 million people across LAC would fall into poverty due to pandemic-induced learning losses.
- Brazil: The Health Ministry announced that it will roll out bivalent COVID-19 booster shots as early as February 27.
Geopolitics of vaccine donations: US vs. China
- The United States outpaces China in its donations of COVID-19 vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean, with Colombia and Mexico topping the list. The region has received roughly 52 percent of all US COVID-19 vaccine donations. To learn more, visit our COVID-19 vaccine tracker: Latin America and the Caribbean.