CABEI: Driving Central America Forwards – Integration and High Impact Projects
Priorities under new administration: importance of economic integration, stronger together.
CABEI in 2019
The Central American Bank for Economic Integration enters 2019 stronger than ever: as the primary financial actor in the Central American region, with important new shareholder countries, with a new executive president – Dr Dante Mossi – leading the Bank and with greater financial strength, both as borrower and lender, than ever before. The Bank closed last year with record figures of US$2.44 billion in new loan approvals and actual disbursements of more than US$1.86 billion. To put this into context, CABEI provides 47% of the multilateral financing to the Central American region. The latest analyses by all mayor credit rating agencies confer the Bank an A+ rating with a positive outlook, making it the highest-rated entity in the entire Latin American region. In March 2019, S&P upgraded the bank to AA/A-1+, with stable outlook.
|Dr Dante Mossi,
Long known as an established debt issuer in the international capital markets, in 2018 CABEI completed ten bond issues across a variety of markets and currencies (the Bank has historically made debt placements in 23 different currencies and markets). The Bank’s enhanced credit profile and its proven track record in the international capital markets will boost its capacity to grant credits in the Central American region. CABEI is committed to its financing being transparent and sustainable, with measurable impact to ensure the fulfilment of the social and economic objectives of its member countries.
Priorities under new management
Building on his predecessors’ successes in fostering and financing the region’s integration and development, Dr Mossi identifies three priorities for the next chapter in CABEI’s story:
• Promotion of fundamental, transnational, region-wide initiatives, including a Central American customs union, a trans-region gas pipeline and a regional electrified railway system, among other high impact projects.
• Strategic alliances with international institutions and with multilateral development banks.
• Transparency, accountability and impact.
A transformative new shareholder
On December 28, 2018 in Seoul, the Republic of Korea signed the Accession Protocol to CABEI’s Constitutive Agreement as well as its respective Shares Subscription Agreement to become a non-regional member of the Bank.
The Republic of Korea’s US$450 million capital subscription is expected to boost CABEI’s lending capacity by US$2.25 billion.
The Republic of Korea’s incorporation will have an immediate positive impact in the Bank’s credit profile and will further strengthen its institutional governance; as a donor country, the Republic of Korea’s technical assistance and cooperation will enhance CABEI’s ability to accomplish its mission to promote the economic integration and the balanced economic and social development of the Central American region.
Stronger together: pan-regional transport
The fundamental logic of CABEI’s mission remains as when it was founded almost 59 years ago: alone, none of the Central American countries has critical mass as a market or the power to act alone as a competitive economic agent – but together their potential is huge. One clear and necessary condition for that is transport infrastructure.
CABEI was the pioneer in financing highway construction throughout the region and continues to lead projects, for example in Panama and in Guatemala – building greater connectivity for the latter with its northern neighbour Mexico. The Bank is also helping to ease traffic congestion in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, through the financing of a project to enhance the city’s beltway.
Now CABEI is actively promoting the development of electrified rail networks for the region.
As CABEI’s regional reach extends from mainland Central America to the islands of the Caribbean, another important initiative is the creation of a regional merchant naval fleet and its associated infrastructure. Here again, the Republic of Korea’s profound expertise on the maritime industry will prove to be an invaluable asset for CABEI.
“CABEI is ours: it belongs to all Central Americans... Our region’s people are ready to seriously compete and to leap forward in meaningful development.”
Dr Dante Mossi, executive president
Stronger together: pan-regional energy
One of Central America’s development goals is the integration of energy supply. SIEPAC is a long-standing project to connect the power grids and allow for the exchange of electricity across the region. CABEI is committed to fostering the sustainable use of affordable clean energy for the region’s industries and consumers, through the use of current and new technologies.
The Bank is also a sponsor of the initiative to create a Central American natural gas pipeline – and is actively engaged in dialogues to overcome both political and technical challenges. The proposed pipeline will stretch from Mexico into Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – and eventually to the whole region – bringing affordable and cleaner energy while also creating an important volume of new employment opportunities.
Facing the environmental challenge
CABEI has a long-standing commitment to providing expertise and financing to help towards the adaptation, mitigation and prevention of climate change impact across the region. It has recently contributed nearly half the funding for the region’s new CAMBio II Programme: an initiative for productive investment to improve the resilience to climate change of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The Bank is determined to develop and implement plans to ensure the sustainable utilization of the region’s natural resources. Long-term environmental viability is at the core of CABEI’s drive for growth, integration and competitivity for Central America.
In the Bank’s own operations, it places special exemplary emphasis on energy conservation, carbon neutral buildings and responsible use of resources.
Economic and social empowerment of women
It is widely understood that increasing the role of women as economic actors – both in families and in companies – is a key driver of economic success and social improvement, especially in emerging markets like those of this region. CABEI recognizes this and implements a range of policies to that end. The Bank has begun a process of certification to international standards in gender equality to ensure optimized workplaces for women as well as men, equality in pay, promotions and leadership opportunities, and improved corporate culture.
Partnerships around the world
CABEI has embarked on an extensive programme of partnering and collaborating with other multilaterals and national agencies, to bring their efforts and expertise to optimize its own integration and development goals for Central America. Already in 2019, CABEI has established new bilateral engagements with Washington’s key institutions – including the Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, the IFC and others – and with French, German and Spanish counterparts such as the AFD, KfW and ICO.
New funding tools and their impact
CABEI has begun its 2019 funding activity with Costa Rican (CRC) and Honduran (HNL) local currency debt placements. Such funding activities by the Bank on domestic markets of member countries is an important step in developing the region’s capital and financial markets. Local currency resources are channelled by CABEI through its network of 88 financial intermediaries to finance high impact sectors, such as MSMEs, companies owned by women, renewable energy and energy-efficient businesses, biodiversity, and agricultural and municipal projects, among others.
| CABEI AT GLANCE
CABEI is a multilateral development bank that has a mission to promote the economic integration and the balanced economic and social development of the Central American region – which includes the founding countries and the non-founding regional countries – attending and aligning itself with the interests of all of its member countries.
CABEI was created in 1960 as the financial arm of the region’s integration and development process. Its resources are continuously invested in projects that foster development to reduce poverty and inequality; strengthen regional integration and the competitive insertion of its member countries in the global economy; and provide special attention to environmental sustainability.
The Bank has 14 member countries and has its headquarters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras with regional offices in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica.
For more information visit www.bcie.org.
About Dr Dante Mossi Dr Dante Mossi joins CABEI as the Bank’s new executive president after a 15-year career at the World Bank and before that ten years as a government economist and private sector consultant in his native Honduras. At the World Bank, Dr Mossi was chief of operations for his country, then in Ghana. He has been the World Bank’s resident representative in Paraguay and also senior operations official for Africa in global energy policy. Dante Mossi’s economics doctorate from Vanderbilt is in public finance; he took his Master’s in econometrics at Duke and is a graduate in electrical engineering from UNAH in Honduras.