Last week, Rio de Janeiro hosted the World Economic Forum on Latin America (April 27-29, 2011). More than 770 regional and global leaders attended, by far the biggest and most International WEF event organized in Latin America to date. The theme was “Laying the Foundation for a Latin American Decade.”
The event was emblematic of the region’s confidence in the future. On panels, discussions and corridors, it was evident that participants now consider Brazil, and Latin America in general, as a global power that are poised for great business opportunities in the short and long term. While the region is well positioned to enjoy continued economic growth, it needs as well to find solutions to many challenges in terms of development, social justice, infrastructure, competition and regulation. The leaders gathered in Rio also agreed that in order to achieve continued success, they must transition from a commodity-based to a services focused economy.
For Cisco, this event was a great opportunity not only to listen and learn, but also to lead and engage in discussions regarding the need for innovation, better infrastructure and a competitive environment and also provided a platform to illustrate the key role technology is playing to help solve some of the region’s most critical problems in the areas of education, healthcare and infrastructure.
Cisco actively participated in both private and public sessions. Our delegation included Paul Mountford, Cisco’s president for Emerging Markets, Jaime Vallés, vice-president for Latin America and Rodrigo Abreu, managing director for Brazil. Cisco participated actively on several sessions, including “Innovation for Competitiveness in Latin America”. This session addressed the need of Latin America to accelerate its development process, change the regulatory environment to allow competition and innovation, and pull away from other regions. Cisco proposed an Innovation-Prize (I-Prize) to promote innovation and generate new ideas in the region.
Paul Mountford was one of the panelists in the session “The New Energy Architecture.” Other panelists included Eduardo Estrada (DSM), Thore E. Kristiansen, (Statoil ASA, Norway), Arthur Lavieri, (Suzlon Energia Eolica do Brasil), Mauricio Tolmasquim, (Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil) and Jan Flachet (Latin America, GDF Suez Energy International).
Mountford discussed how technology can play a role in solving energy problems, the impact of IT on innovation, infrastructure and energy, and how the Internet of things or the connection of machines to machines and smart grid technologies are the next big trends. Paul stressed the need for broadband to be embedded in all utilities and the opportunity for the region to leap frog.
Paul Mountford reporting from WEF
Remarks from Paul Mountford on the panel “The New Energy Architecture”
Jaime Vallés, VP Cisco Latin America, giving his closing remarks at the session “Achieving Green Growth”, the most profound challenge for the next decade.
Rodrigo Abreu commenting on the WEF discussions and sessions: