The ICC World Chambers Federation and the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce hosted the First Ibero-American Summit on Sustainability and Innovation in Business, during which international speakers, panellists and experts highlighted the crucial role played by chambers of commerce in encouraging the development of SMEs and fostering public-private partnerships around the world.
The Summit is the first major milestone of the global plan presented by WCF’s new leadership in August to strengthen MSMEs along four axes: empowerment of women, sustainability, access to markets and adoption of digital tools.
The event was attended by international speakers such as ICC World Chambers Federation and the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce President Nicolás Uribe Rueda and ICC Chair María Fernanda Garza as well as Colombian Vice Minister of Business Development, María Fernanda Valdez, South Korean economist and SOAS professor Ha-Joon Chang, Front co-founder and president of Front Alan Mac Carthy, design historian Barry Katz and P4G Director Ian de Cruz.
More than 1200 business representatives attended the two days of the Ibero-American Summit with more than 100 companies participating in the relationship spaces organised by sectors. The 13th World Chambers Congress team was also present at the event to mobilise LATAM business and chambers ahead of the Congress set to take place in Geneva in June 2023.
Opening the Summit, Mr Uribe Rueda reminded attendees of the key role played by the chamber system as a bridge between governments and citizens: “The chambers of commerce are called upon to promote public-private articulation in the implementation of policies that encourage and facilitate development, and they are the ones who can convene and make attractive markets available to MSMEs. The Chambers can jointly build solutions for the problems of the business sector and promote structural transformations in the business model to make them sustainable and productive”.
MR Uribe Rueda also called for the productive sector to be increasingly sustainable and purposeful.
At her opening speech, the chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, María Fernanda Garza, reminded attendees of the enormous support required by micro, small and medium-sized companies in the world to overcome the current global crisis impacted by the war in Ukraine, the effects of the pandemic and inflation.
Ms Garza said: “In Latin America we need governments and companies to work in cooperation to maintain the economy and jobs. More than 60% of MSMEs have lower incomes than they had before the pandemic, and this directly impacts households. In developing countries, families have lost 1.5% of their income, just because of the increase in corn and wheat. As a business community we must be a source of solutions to solve current challenges, through innovation, but this cannot occur in a vacuum”.
This ICC WCF Regional Summit was the first of a series planned by the new WCF Chairmanship. With them, WCF aims to address challenges that are particular to each regional and expand its presence worldwide, connecting chambers and MSMEs to work together to achieve peace and prosperity for all. The next ICC WCF Regional Summit should be announced shortly.
The ICC World Chambers Federation is ICC’s unique and truly global forum connecting, leading and inspiring the global network of chambers and their respective business communities. In addition to strengthening links among chambers, WCF helps individual chambers become more productive. As a non-political, non-governmental body, WCF is the backbone of the chamber community providing a platform for chamber leaders to communicate and collaborate with each other on matters of mutual interest and facilitating beneficial partnerships.