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Latin America opens up via Andean lender

Trade and investment between the Emirates and Latin America will increase in the next two years, says the chief executive of the Andean Development Bank of Venezuela.

Trade and investment between the Emirates and Latin America will increase in the next two years, says the chief executive of the Andean Development Bank (CAF) of Venezuela.

The UAE's infrastructure expertise and bond market is "very attractive" to Latin America as the two seek to step up trade relations, said Enrique Garciaduring a visit to Abu Dhabi.

"Latin America does not have a sufficient relationship with the region and we're quite willing to sell bonds here and attract sovereign funds," Mr Garcia said.

CAF lends to the public and private sector in its 18 "shareholder" countries, mostly in Latin America. It differs from the standard donor-recipient relationship of many development banks.

The 40-year-old bank invests in infrastructure, education and enterprises by raising capital through bond issues on international markets, and from deposits and credit from central banks.

Mr Garcia expects the bank to raise up to US$1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) on international bond markets by the end of this year, compared with $1.2bn last year. The UAE market could contribute about $200 million when talks begin, but he did not want to be drawn on specific numbers during what he called a "courtesy visit".

"We don't have allocations [and] it's about building relationships with a view to looking at investment in 2011 or 2012," Mr Garcia said.

CAF has authorised capital of $10 billion and at the end of last year, $11.8bn in its loan portfolio, a 12 per cent jump compared with 2005.

Mr Garcia's visit to the UAE comes before a meeting in Lima, Peru, next year, when it is expected the UAE Government and CAF will firm up a deal on investment and trade.

He maintained that any agreements would be reciprocated, with the UAE able to tap into Latin America's thriving agro-industry.

The UAE and Latin America, although geographically distant, have sought to step up investment and trade since their first meeting in 2005 at a South American-Arab summit in Brazil.

 

farah.halime@thenational.ae

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