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REGIONS AMERICAS


Ecuador’snewpresident pledgesreformagenda


Q&A: GUILLERMOLASSO


NEWLY ELECTED GUILLERMO LASSO DISCUSSES HIS PLANS FOR ECUADOR’S BATTERED ECONOMY. ALEX IRWIN-HUNT REPORTS


C


onservative Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso took office on May 24 with a gargantuan task on his hands.


The 65-year-old former banker begins his term with significant challenges ahead, in an oil-rich Latin American country still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. Ecuador has suffered the world’s second


worst rate of excess deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, according to analysis by the Financial Times. Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 7.5%in 2020, and is forecast to recover by 2.5%this year.Meanwhile, govern- ment debt has jumped to 65.1% of GDP — its highest level in decades. But with plans to make the country more


investor-friendly and review the $6.5bn lending programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund last September, Mr Lasso aims to have more success than his predecessor Lenín Moreno by using free-market policies to kickstart the economy. He speaks to fDi about plans to restore con-


fidence through an ambitious programme to vaccinate more than half of Ecuador’s popula- tion, and invite domestic and foreign investors to drive the recovery.


Q A


How do you plan to kickstart Ecuador’s economy?


There will be no economic kickstart what- soever if our population doesn’t get the vac-


cine. That’s why our administration has pro- posed to vaccinate nine million Ecuadorians in


the first 100 days of our government. Once we achieve that goal, the productive sector and the population will be more confident in returning to normality.Myadministration will guarantee legal certainty to attract foreign and national investment. We are committed to working tirelessly for


thewellbeing of the Ecuadorian people.Wewill demonstrate that the governmentis here to cre- ate conditions to live a free and joyful life, based on their will. We will not prosecute nor point fingers towards anybody because they do not share our way of thinking.Wewill respect, now and always, the diversity and plurality of our people.


Q A


Howwill you achieve yourambitious vac- cination target?


The previous administration reserved a mixed portfolio of around 20 million vac-


cine doses for the Ecuadorian people. Also, we have had conversations with the ambassador of the Russian government in Ecuador and we agreed a supply agreement for the Sputnik V vaccine. This agreement means more vaccines formore Ecuadorians. Due to the transition process, our vaccina-


tion programme started on May 31. In the run-up, all public and private health facili- ties, and mobile brigades, were ready to vac- cinate our people based on the established calendar. We already have 150,000 doses for people that are a priority to vaccinate during that time.


WEARECOMMITTEDTOIMPROVING THEWELLBEINGOFOURPEOPLE


60 www.fDiIntelligence.com June/July 2021


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