October 24, 2023
Santiago Peña Palacios
President, Republic of Paraguay
Senior Vice President, Americas Program, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Forecast on Latin America and the Caribbean Conference provided a platform for a conversation about regional economic integration. During this event, Paraguay President Santiago Peña Palacios discussed his country's investment in human capital, growth opportunities, and global impact.
Paraguay’s Vision Includes Sustainable Growth and Human Capital Investment
Palacios reflected on his realization of Paraguay's blessings during his travels in Africa and his subsequent return to the country in 2012.
“My view, and I think the view of most Paraguayans is, we don't want to [be] the champions,” Palacios explained. “We want to be a platform for the private sector to identify where the greatest opportunities [are].”
Leveraging its competitive advantages such as fertile land, abundant hydroelectricity, and strategic location in South America, Palacios said Paraguay has positioned itself as a sustainable and open economy.
“We're going to take care of natural resources with all the information that we know how,” said Palacios. “But it's going to be human capital that's going to drive Paraguay for the future.”
Paraguay’s Government Is Combating Corruption
Highlighting his commitment to promoting certainty, predictability, and transparency for investors in Paraguay, Palacios discussed his campaign against populism and polarization. Upon taking office, he initiated efforts to combat corruption by coordinating with key government institutions.
“We're going to launch a national strategy on anti-corruption by the end of November – before 100 days [in] office,” Palacios said. “This will be a great opportunity for us as a public institution, but for society at large to work on this, as … [corruption erodes] the confidence of the people.”
Palacios drew parallels with Paraguay's successful development of strong economic institutions in the past, such as the central bank and Ministry of Economy, and aims to apply a similar approach to various challenges facing the country in the future.
Paraguay Is Playing a Vital Role in the Clean Energy Transition
Paraguay plays a crucial role in addressing global challenges, particularly in clean energy transition.
“[Currently], 100% of the electricity is run on [hydroelectricity]. We are using only 20% of our own availability,” Palacios explained. “We are exporting this to Brazil and Argentina. We are planning to expand production by building new hydro plants and building solar plants.”
Emphasizing the need to restore the balance between environmental conservation and development, Palacios highlighted Paraguay's initiative to create the largest urban park in Latin America in the capital city of Asunción.
“We want to make Asunción the greenest city of all … combined with our cultural roots,” he said. “This should be the legacy, not only for Paraguay but for the entire world.”