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Public Meeting in San Antonio

Posted on December 02, 2013

Public Meeting in San Antonio

At its semi-annual public meeting on November 14, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas, the Board of Directors of the BECC and the North American Development Bank reported significant progress in the work of the two institutions. In the 19 years since their inception, the BECC and NADB have certified 226 infrastructure projects worth more than US $6.5 billion. NADB has provided loans and grants to support 192 of these projects.

 The Public Meeting was chaired by the Assistant Secretary for Development Banks at Mexico's Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, Luis Madrazo Lajous, who said that a critical outcome of this meeting was the issuance of a resolution directing the two organizations to link their efforts to those of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue agreed on by Presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto in May, by developing "studies to identify priority projects related to the agenda" of this new high level mechanism, the chairman of the Board said.          

Luis Madrazo also highlighted as part of the outcomes, the agreement reached to move forward with the first cross-border renewable energy project in Sierra Juarez, near Tecate, Baja California. The new wind farm is a 155-megawatt wind project that involves the sale of electricity to San Diego County. This project "is an example of cross-border cooperation and the impending evolution of the energy sector," the official said. The chairman of the Board also announced the recent certification and financing of the Alamo 4 Solar Park, a 40-megawatt solar energy project to be located in Bracketville Texas. He reported that the power generated will be purchased by CPS Energy of San Antonio.   

Another major outcome of this meeting was the disbursement of grants to the first five projects approved this year for funding through the Community Assistance Program (CAP), said Mr. Madrazo Lajous. Of these, the communities of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua and San Luis, Arizona, received ceremonial checks for US $450,000 and US $500,000, respectively. 

The chairman of the Board said that, while the CAP provides relatively small grants, "these funds will make a big difference in improving infrastructure on both sides of the border in communities that have little or no borrowing capacity. Consequently, they will help provide better services to benefit border residents." 

"We welcome the opportunity to highlight the High Level Economic Dialogue commitment and strongly endorse an active role for the NADB and BECC in advancing vital goals under this partnership,” said Karen Mathiasen, Director of the Office of Multilateral Development Banks at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Board co-chair. 

Board member Ana Luisa Fajer, Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Relations Director General for North America, said in an interview that the High Level Economic Dialogue is a mechanism created by the two presidents to promote more competitiveness and greater economic development in both countries. She explained this as a three-prong approach: first, to promote competitiveness and connectivity; second, to promote economic development and innovation, as well as the economic empowerment of women and the safe flow of people, goods and services; and third, to seek collaboration with respect to regional and global leadership. 

The new resolution puts the two institutions in a position to be key elements for raising cross-border competitiveness with projects such as ports of entry, transportation, road infrastructure, and binational power transmission, as is the case of the wind power project in Tecate, Baja California, the first renewable energy interconnectivity project along the border. In an interview, the General Manager of the BECC said the most important topic of the meeting was precisely the cooperation between the two countries arising from the newly established link with the High Level Economic Dialogue. In this context, she said "the work of the two institutions becomes important when connected to issues such as border crossings, water conservation, and energy."  

Finally, NADB Managing Director Geronimo Gutierrez, said the Board of Directors meeting is of great significance for the Bank and the BECC, given their involvement in the High Level Economic Dialogue, which reflects that "ultimately, we are a tool for the governments, oriented towards sustainable development in the border region." Secondly, the progress made by the Community Assistance Program (CAP) was evidenced by the "much-needed support" that has been provided to some beneficiary communities, the binational official said. 

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