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Peruvian Times, Peru, Dec.29, 2008

Peru President Alan Garcia named Leader of the Year by the Latin American Business Chronicle

Peru President Alan García has been named the Leader of the Year by the Latin American Business Chronicle.

“President Alan García was named due to his achievements during the year, which included increasing foreign investment, boosting the economy, and the successful organization of summits with European and Asian leaders,” said Joachim Bamrud, the online magazine’s director.

“While he inherited a strong economy from his predecessor, Alejandro Toledo, García surprised many local and foreign investors for his enthusiastic embrace of free markets and free trade”, Bamrud said about the former leftist firebrand. “And now, thanks to García, Peru is one of Latin America’s top destinations for foreign investment.”

This year, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, or ECLAC, Peru’s economy should expand by 9.4 percent, the highest growth rate in Latin America after Uruguay. And, according to Peru’s central bank, foreign investment will total $8.4 billion in 2008, which represents an increase of 58.45 percent from last year, when foreign direct investment also grew by more than 50 percent.

But, despite its considerable economic success this year and the fact that Peru is weathering the global crisis better than most other Latin American countries, it is nevertheless feeling the effects of the global credit crunch and falling commodity prices.

In October, plummeting prices for copper caused Peru’s exports to fall for the first time since 2002, down 11.4 percent compared to the same month last year. All mining companies have put expansion and development plans on hold. Peru is the world’s largest silver miner and third-biggest copper producer.

In September, Peru announced a trade deficit for the first time in more than five years, and a $506 million shortfall in October. And, the government has already lowered its forecast for next year’s economic growth from 9 to 6.5 percent.

García is also faced with very low approval ratings, and persistent social unrest.

Previous Latin American Business Chronicle Leaders of the Year include Mexico’s Felipe Calderón (2007), Panamá’s Martín Torrijos (2006), and Álvaro Uribe, of Colombia (2005).


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