Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact is wide-reaching, from a decline in external demand to a rise in uncertainty and the closure of businesses. Unemployment rates have increased across the region, substantially in some countries.
Despite the major impact of the pandemic, the economic outlook for LAC is expected to improve this year. After regional GDP declined by 6.7% (excluding Venezuela) in 2020, the region is expected to grow by 4.4% in 2021.
According to UNCTAD, FDI in LAC plunged a stunning 37% in 2020, and Brazil was the worst hit, with a 55% decrease. Among the major economies, Mexico experienced a decline of less than 10%. FDI in Peru, Colombia, and Argentina dropped by 76%, 49%, and 47%, respectively.
During FY20, MIGA supported six projects in the LAC region and issued guarantees for a total of almost $1.5 billion. This included two Non-Honoring of Financial Obligations (NHFO) transactions in Panama and one NHFO guarantee in Colombia, two Capital Optimization guarantees in Argentina and Uruguay, and one Political Risk Insurance (PRI) guarantee in Colombia.
70% of the total amount of MIGA's new issuances in the region in FY20 was through its $6.5 billion fast-track facility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Examples of MIGA-Supported Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean
In June 2020, MIGA issued guarantees on a fifteen-year, US$250 million loan provided by Kairos Global Solutions S.A. (Kairos), and a five-year, US$150 million loan provided by BBVA, to Caja de Ahorros (CA) of Panama. These guarantees will protect the lenders against the risk of Non-Honoring of Financial Obligations by a State-Owned Enterprise (NHFO-SOE).
The MIGA-guaranteed loan from Kairos, arranged by Citi and funded in large part by institutional investors, will expand CA’s mortgage lending to low- and middle-income households in Panama, increasing access to affordable housing. The MIGA-guaranteed loan from BBVA will help finance CA’s response to the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.
MIGA also issued guarantees covering seven-year loan facilities totaling US$510 million from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (US$360 million) and other international lenders (US$150 million) to Banco Nacional de Panamá (BNP). MIGA’s guarantees provide cover against the risk of Non-Honoring of a Financial Obligation of State-Owned Enterprise (NHFO-SOE).
The MIGA-guaranteed loans will be used to finance a US$1 billion trust fund established by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and BNP to provide emergency liquidity to the Panamanian economy and help the country mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In FY20, MIGA issued a guarantee of US$385 million for two years to JP Morgan Chase Bank, Banco Santander, BBVA and other investors, for loans being provided to Colombia’s Business Development Bank of Colombia (Bancóldex). The MIGA guarantee provides protection to the lenders from the risks of Non-Honoring of Financial Obligations by a State-Owned Enterprise (NHFO-SOE).
With this guarantee, Bancóldex will access international credit markets and provide financing for short-term loans through financial intermediaries (FI) to micro-, small- and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and corporates in key economic sectors such as manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, tourism, and communications.
MIGA also issued a guarantee of US$47.5 million for ten years for a loan being provided to Banco Davivienda S.A. (Davivienda) of Colombia. The MIGA guarantee provides protection to the lender against the risks of Currency Inconvertibitlity and Transfer Restriction.
Davivienda will use this MIGA-backed loan to strengthen its capital base and boost lending to women-owned, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs), low-income social housing, and green building projects in Colombia.
In 2019, MIGA issued guarantees of up to US$100 million, covering Banco Santander Uruguay's mandatory reserves with the Central Bank of Uruguay. The coverage is in addition to guarantees issued to Banco Santander in 2016 for up to 10 years, and will allow Santander Uruguay to more readily increase domestic lending, focusing on operations with climate co-benefits.
Reflecting the effectiveness of MIGA’s initial guarantee, the new coverage demonstrates MIGA’s continued support for the provision of credit in Uruguay by helping expand access to finance to private sector firms in the country.