The XI Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) took place virtually on February 25 and 26, 2021, under the theme “Re-Defining the Competitiveness Agenda in the Americas: Imperatives for a Post-COVID Recovery.”

The ACF convened more than 600 participants, including Ministers and High-Level Authorities of 32 OAS Member States, Senior Executives from the Private Sector, and regional experts from the public, private, and academic sectors. Moreover, more than 1,600 people followed the deliberations via webcast through the OAS Facebook and YouTube channels.

The opening remarks were delivered by the Minister of Production, Commerce, Investment, and Fisheries of the Government of Ecuador, Mr. Iván Ontaneda Berrú, OAS Secretary General, Mr. Luis Almagro, and His Excellency President of the Government of Ecuador, Mr. Lenin Moreno.

Ministers and High-Level Authorities of the Americas shared solutions and proposals on priorities for post- COVID economic recovery focused on the following main topics:

  • Digital Transformation and SME and Citizen Readiness;
  • Innovation-driven Business Development and Empowering Entrepreneurs;
  • Improving the Regulatory Environment, Trade Facilitation and Regional Value Chains;
  • Climate Adaptation and Post-COVID Recovery

A key feature of the XI ACF was the dialogue between Ministers and Senior Executives from major companies doing business in the Americas. Leaders from Amazon Web Services, Bioprist Indies Pharma, Walmart, Maersk, Novartis, Salesforce, Scotiabank, Consorcio Nobis, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented views and recommendations on priorities for PPP for economic recovery in the Americas.

The President of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, Ms. Deborah Wince-Smit, address the ACF for a keynote presentation on the “Next Economy,” followed by a presentation on inclusive growth and competitiveness by Mr. Luis Porto Rizzo, Senior Advisor-Strategic Counsel for Organizational Development and Management for Results of the OAS.

The afternoon sessions featured a presentation and dialogue regarding Resiliency and Diversification Challenges for the Caribbean Tourism Sector and Economies, and a panel on Vulnerability and Resiliency of the Export Sector of Ecuador.

In closing, the Government of Ecuador, as Chair Pro Tempore of RIAC, presented the RIAC priorities for economic recovery Post-COVID, building on the inputs provided by Member States in the RIAC Preparatory Meeting on November 24, 2020, and the deliberations of Ministers, High-Level Authorities of Competitiveness, Senior Executives of the Private Sector, and other regional experts during the XI FCA.

On Friday, February 26, 2021, the XI ACF held two side events. The ACE Meet-Up provided and overview of the ACE program as a successful mechanism to advance economic development, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the Americas. The ACE Alumni Network shared experiences and concrete benefits and outcomes of ACE, highlighted opportunities for collaboration, and finally, future ACE hosts presented information about the upcoming editions of the program that will take place in the United States, in Colorado, August 1 to 6, 2021, and Louisiana, on November 7 to 14, 2021. The Group of Experts on Subnational Competitiveness (GTECS) presented a new study on Digital Transformation for Economic Recovery, followed by a discussion panel to review some of the main recommendations.