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The Inter-American Development Bank’s decision to hold its annual meetings in Asuncion this year has been well received domestically as validation of Paraguay’s strong recent economic growth and free-trade policies.
However, bankers around the region have been a little less effusive, wondering aloud how the capital – often described as ‘sleepy’ in contrast to the bustle of previous host cities in Latin America – will cope with the influx of thousands of visitors for one long weekend.
But Paraguay’s finance minister, Santiago Peña, isn’t fazed. Nor, he says, are the organizers of the IDB: “I got a call in December 2015 from the IDB and they asked if they could move up the Asuncion conference one year.
“There were some problems apparently with some of the venues in the Bahamas – some issues with the Chinese builders of some of the locations – and they thought they were going to have to switch the 2016 location. I asked them if they were sure we were in a position to host and they said: ‘Yes, we’ve checked. You’re ready.’”
Being ready more than one year ahead of an event? Paraguay really is differentiating itself in the region.