At the United Nations General Assembly, President Biden spoke about Build Back Better World (B3W)—an infrastructure partnership he launched alongside G7 leaders in June—as a signature initiative to meet the climate, health, and technology needs of the developing world using a values-driven, high-standards, transparent, and catalytic approach to investment. This week, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh led an interagency delegation to Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama to hear directly from a range of Latin American stakeholders to better understand the infrastructure needs within these countries and around the region. Singh was joined by David Marchick, Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Ricardo Zúniga, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Special Envoy for the Northern Triangle, as well as officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Treasury, and other Departments and Agencies on the ground.
In Colombia, Singh met with President Iván Duque Márquez and members of his cabinet and met with Ministry of Health representatives to discuss the government’s efforts to expand vaccine production capacity. In Ecuador, Singh met with President Guillermo Lasso and key ministers. In Panama, Singh met with President Laurentino Cortizo and cabinet ministers. He also met with representatives from the Panama Canal Authority and private sector leaders. Throughout his trip, Singh met with representatives from the private sector as well as key environmental, labor, and civil society leaders to solicit their views as to how we can best support local communities in a way that responds to infrastructure needs and advances the highest standards for transparency and anticorruption, financial sustainability, labor protections, and environmental preservation.
This visit demonstrated President Biden’s commitment to strengthening our ties with Latin America and to narrowing the massive global gaps in physical, digital, and human infrastructure that has been widened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The President’s vision for B3W is to work with partners that share our democratic values to finance and develop infrastructure in a manner that is transparent, sustainable, adheres to high standards, and catalyzes the private sector where possible. Given the challenges of the 21st century, B3W has a focus on strengthening infrastructure in the areas of climate, health and health security, digital connectivity, and gender equity and equality, but appreciates that countries’ infrastructure needs are dynamic. As the United States continues to expand B3W, we will work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to promote transparency, sustainability, and development impact, including those in other low- and middle-income countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and key regions such as the Indo-Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, central and eastern Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa.