Around 300 business national and international business people gathered last Thursday to learn about the investment opportunities in Ecuador, that according to President Lasso sum $30b over four years. Areas where the Republic has the most important portfolio of projects are hydrocarbons, mining, transportation and communications. Minister of Production Julio Jose Prado seconded the president in an excellent presentation that raised expectations and hope for better days. Direct investment is the long-term solution not only to alleviate the need of unsustainable additional debt, but also to help the labor sector come out of its stagnant situation where only 32% of Ecuadorians have an adequate job.
Also, in Glasgow, President Lasso shone positioning Ecuador as an important potential player in the environment conservation agenda. His proposal to extend the marine reservation area around the Galapagos Islands and transform it into a biodiversity research area was accompanied with the announcement of an existing green financial architecture that will allow Ecuador to exchange debt for conservation. We hope this initiative has a successful outcome as opposed to the Yasuni-ITT fiasco during the government of Rafael Correa. Ecuador has also important environment issues in the Amazon region where the richest oil reserves have not been exploited yet.
There are also private initiatives in this line. In fact, Banco del Pichincha, the largest private bank of Ecuador, will launch a green-bond issue by the end of this year with the objective to raise $200 million, becoming the first private institution in Ecuador to incur in this financing area.
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