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May 27, 2020

The Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Latin America

What Are the Opportunities for the Region?

Event Series: The Americas: Building the Future Together

Showing the The Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Latin America Video

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting the world in an unprecedented way. Every region is going through major lasting transformations affecting economic, humanitarian, social, and political dimensions of life. Latin America, as part of the global economy, has been particularly affected.

This webinar, the first in the 2020 series on “The Americas: Building the Future Together,” sought to understand the opportunities for innovation that this disruptive moment could offer. It brought together academic and business experts to assess how the business and government sectors could seize this moment to foster growth and innovation for Latin America.

The panelists covered the following questions: 

  • How can Latin America take advantage of this new crisis? 
  • What industries are better prepared to come out ahead?
  • Is there a new role for the region beyond the provision of commodities to the world
  • How are the financial markets in the region prepared to respond?
  • Will multinationals be still interested in investing in the region? What about multilatinas? 
  • How can Georgetown and other universities better prepare our students for the challenges ahead?

This event was co-sponsored by the Latin America Leadership Program (LALP) and the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) of Georgetown University.


Manuel J. Balbontin is chairman of the Georgetown University Latin American Board, a partner and founder of Compass Group and executive chairman of Compass Group Holdings, and a senior investment strategist. 

Hector E. Schamis is adjunct professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. He has written extensively in the academic and popular press on issues of democratic governance, populism, and Latin American development. 

Muni Jensen is a senior advisor with Albright Stonebridge Group, where she uses her experience and expertise as a political analyst and former Colombian diplomat to advise clients on issues related to Latin American politics, United States-Latin America trade, and public affairs. 

Álvaro Fernández Garza has been chief executive officer of Alfa S.A.B de C.V. since 2010, a company he joined in 1991. Alfa is a diversified holding with a presence in 29 countries via four divisions: petrochemicals, food, auto parts, and telecommunications. He has an MBA from Georgetown University. 

Ricardo Ernst (moderator) is Baratta Chair in Global Business and executive director of the Latin America Leadership Program at Georgetown University.