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IDB in Miami: U.S. business can think bigger about Latin America and the Caribbean

Fabrizio Opertti, integration and trade manager for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), speaking to South Florida business leaders on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.
Courtesy IDB
Fabrizio Opertti, integration and trade manager for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), speaking to South Florida business leaders on Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

South Florida businesses are no stranger to the potential for deals in Latin America — but officials from the hemisphere’s largest development bank were in Miami this week to urge them to see just how much potential remains untapped.

The Inter-American Development Bank, or IDB, based in Washington D.C., is the largest source of multilateral financing in Latin America and the Caribbean. So it chose Miami — the so-called nexus of the Americas — to launch a "roadshow" promoting a major new project called Bid for the Americas.

The effort is designed to get companies here and around the U.S. to think bigger when it comes to doing business with the rest of the hemisphere.

“U.S. companies are bidding mostly in the smaller projects in Latin America and the Caribbean," Fabrizio Opertti, the IDB's manager of trade and integration, told WLRN..

"So we are creating platforms online in order to generate more opportunities with the large projects.”

READ MORE: Iguanacorn Dreams: Miami's upstart tech joins Latin America's tech startups

Toward that end, IDB executives like Opertti and the Bank's president, Ilan Goldfajn urged South Florida business and trade infrastructure leaders to check out new initiatives on its ConnectAmericas.com B2B site. One is a US-LAC bidding center, which Opertti said offers more "business-friendly" information that should generate more expansive inter-American business deal opportunities.

"We discovered that there was a bit of a business information asymmetry in the Americas that's been a barrier in the past," Opertti said. "This is going to change that."

The IDB helps fund some $5 billion in business procurement contracts in Latin America and the Caribbean. Florida and particularly South Florida companies are uniquely positioned to rake in more of that. Florida already does more than $73 billion in bilateral trade with Latin America and the Caribbean, almost a fifth more than last year — and that region accounts for more than half the state's exports. In addition, Miami is now a hub for the region’s technology startups.

“Florida’s the natural partner, which is why we came here first to Miami for this promotion," said Opertti. "Being a bilingual, bicultural city and state, I mean, it's right on target."

As part of Bid for the Americas, the IDB is also launching three new mobile apps for businesses to use: Build the Americas, Consult4theAmericas and Code4theAmericas (coming next year).

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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