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Peru takes its place in the sun

The country has had its tribulations, but it is prospering from international demand for minerals and energy and from the benefits of liberalization. The only shadow is the danger that discontent among the poor will grow faster than the redistribution of wealth. Dominic O’Neill reports from Lima.

PARIS, NEW YORK, Tokyo – Lima? Peru’s capital, says Euromoney’s host, has become the gastronomic hub of South America.

In a chic restaurant, Peruvian cuisine is served. Ingredients draw on one of the world’s richest fishing regions and an incredible inland biodiversity, with more than 3,000 types of potato, for example. The host is Oscar Jasaui, founder of Lima-based Pacific Credit Rating.

He describes how much confidence the country has gained since the hyperinflation, debt crises and left-wing insurgencies of the 1980s and 1990s. "We believe we can do it now," he says. He remembers how Latin American business people used to recoil when he said he was from Peru. Now he finds being Peruvian is a stamp of approval, and his company is just one of many Peruvian firms expanding abroad – including this restaurant, Segundo Muelle.

Apart from restaurant chains, Peruvian companies in retail, construction and mining are looking overseas and particularly at their neighbours, Chile and Colombia. Peruvian conglomerate Grupo Brescia, for example, acquired the Chilean section of French building materials firm Lafarge this summer for $550 million.

Peruvian firms are preparing to diversify their funding by raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the Chilean and Colombian debt capital markets.

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