Economic Growth and Integration in Central America

Thursday, June 21, 2007
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
IMF Auditorium (HQ1-R-710)
**Open to Fund/Bank Staff and the Public**
(light refreshments will be served)

View a webcast of this event

See Table of Contents, Chapter I and ordering information of publication

For security reasons, please RSVP to A picture ID will be required; persons and bags will be screened.

Please arrive 15-20 minutes early to allow for these additional measures. Visitors should enter through the IMF Center, 720 19th St. NW.

Only IMF/World Bank Staff ID holders should use IMF main entrance at 700 19th St. NW.

There is much optimism about Central America's economic future, reflecting continuing political and economic stability and deepening global and regional integration. Particularly noteworthy are the implementation of the free trade agreement with the United States (CAFTA-DR), the prospects for the creation of a Central American customs union, and the forthcoming start of negotiations on an Association Agreement with the European Union.

Given the heightened interest in Central America, policymakers have the opportunity to make the region even more attractive for investment by accelerating reforms, with the ultimate objectives of achieving higher sustainable growth and tackling poverty. In addition, there is scope to make the region more resilient against adverse shocks, including those associated with the integration process itself.

This book forum on "Economic Growth and Integration in Central America" will address some of these issues. It will be moderated by David Robinson and begin with a short presentation by the editors of the publication, Dominique Desruelle and Alfred Schipke. The presentations will be followed by comments from Mr. Arturo Cruz, Ambassador of Nicaragua to the U.S. and Canada, Mr. Guillermo Castillo, Ambassador of Guatemala to the U.S., and Peter Hakim, President of the Inter-American Dialogue.

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Moderated by: David Robinson, Deputy Director of Western Hemisphere Department. He studied mathematics and economics at Oxford University, before joining the U.K. Treasury in 1982. After working as an assistant to the UK Executive Director to the IMF in Washington, he joined the Fund staff in 1985. In the IMF he has also worked in the European, Asian, and Research Departments. As part of his responsibilities, he was involved in the study of the USSR economy in 1989, worked on Thailand and Malaysia in the run up to the Asian crisis, was responsible for the Fund's work on China and Hong Kong SAR, managed the Fund's multilateral surveillance, including the World Economic Outlook, and more recently worked on the first Multilateral Consultation.


Arturo Cruz is the Ambassador of Nicaragua to the United States of America and Canada. He is also a tenured professor at INCAE Business School in Managua, Nicaragua. Academically, he has focused on issues related to the analysis of social, economic and political trends in Latin America and is the author of several books and numerous articles on related topics. Ambassador Cruz obtained his Doctorate in Modern History at the University of Oxford, and a Masters in International Relations from the Paul Nitze School of International Relations at John Hopkins.

Jose Guillermo Castillo Villacorta is the Ambassador of Guatemala to the United States of America. He previously served as minister (1999-2000) and vice minister of economy in charge of trade issues (1998-99). Before working in the public sector, Ambassador Castillo worked both in the financial and corporate sector both in Guatemala and abroad. Ambassador Castillo earned a bachelor's degree from Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala, is a Fulbright scholar, and holds a master's degree in business administration from Northwestern University.

Peter Hakim is the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based center for policy analysis and exchange on Western Hemisphere affairs. Mr. Hakim writes and speaks widely on hemispheric issues, is regularly interviewed on radio and television, and has testified more than a dozen times before Congress. His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, and Financial Times.

Dominique Desruelle is Chief of the Central America Division in the Western Hemisphere Department. During the past two years, he has coordinated the Department's regional work in Central America and led bilateral missions to Costa Rica and El Salvador. His Fund career has included assignments in the Policy Development and Review Department, with a primary focus on surveillance policy, and the European II Department, working on several transition economies. He is French and holds degrees from Princeton University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Ecole Centrale de Paris.

Alfred Schipke is the Regional Resident Representative for Central America in Guatemala. In this capacity he has co-led the Western Hemisphere Department's analytical work on Central America, fostered the dialogue with the Central American authorities on regional issues, and expanded the Fund's regional outreach activities. Previously, he was a research fellow at the Kiel Institute of World Economics. He holds a PhD in economics, and has taught international trade and finance at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. His current research interest include issues related to economic integration and linkages between macroeconomics and financial markets.


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