Opportunities ahead.[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
Mexico, together with other Latin American countries, has a unique opportunity to assume a position of leadership, growth and development.
These countries have assets that must be appropriately valued, particularly regarding European economies and other developed economies. These are: 1) solid macroeconomic factors; 2) healthy financial systems that were not severely affected by the crisis of 2009; 3) low debt and public deficit levels; 4) modern industrial plants; and 5) qualified and efficient labor forces.
Added to this is the high potential associated with the unprecedented infrastructure and housing development in the region. The 200 main cities in Latin America will have 315 million residents in 2025, a population greater than the U.S. population today. Moreover, 50 million people will enter the Latin American labor force by 2025, a number that is higher than France's current economically active population.
Mexico has particular advantages, including oil, gas, a 3,326-kilometer border shared with the world's largest economy, shorelines and ports with enormous potential, in the Pacific, the Gulf and the Caribbean regions.
In recent years, white work has been done to improve Mexico's living standards (health coverage, programs to alleviate extreme poverty), as a society we must work to improve the quality of education, to resolve the problem of public safety as well as some pending issues regarding the country's competitiveness.
Regarding basic education, the results of national and international assessments show insufficient levels in quality and attendance, plus high dropout rates. For example, only 46 of every 100 students in the first year of primary school in Mexico have the possibility of reaching the first year of high school.
Regarding public safety, it is imperative to continue the battle the Mexican government has begun against organized crime to prevent it from challenging the state. And, above all, it is necessary to wage a frontal attack against the crimes that most affect the civilian population. It is critical to find solutions that economically discourage the massive earnings generated from the sale of drugs in the United States. Doing this could significantly decrease the violence. This will be even more the case if the effort is accompanied by programs that address drug use as a health problem rather than as a crime.
Finally, regarding competitiveness, there is a need to redouble efforts, in particular regarding innovation, with a vision associated with greater productivity and relatively higher salaries.
I am optimistic about the country. I am convinced that the obstacles we face will be successfully overcome, thanks to the confidence we have in the country and by working hard and investing in projects with a high economic and social return. Mexico and Latin America currently have a privileged position that we must take advantage of in order to achieve a real transformation of our economies and the living conditions of our inhabitants.
BY JUAN PABLO DEL VALLE,
Chairman of the board of Mexichem
Mexichem, based in Mexico City, is a leading company in the chemical and petrochemical industry in Latin America, with operations in more than 15 countries. In 2010 had US$2,953 billion in revenues and reported earnings of US$299.1 million. Its payroll has more than 10,000 employees.