The Future of Work in Post-Covid-19 Latin America: A New CIPE Initiative

10.29.2020 | Tomas Mandl, John Zemko

This blog appears in Spanish at:

When the first Latin American victim of Covid-19 was announced on February 25, 2020, the region was contemplating a distant future world of telework, automated jobs, and digitization. Except for widespread use of cellphones and growing internet penetration rates, Latin America was not fully prepared for a digital future.

The sudden pandemic crisis revealed the region’s outdated model in broad light and its corresponding costs. Not only have Latin American countries posted some of the world’s highest number of victims, but also the region will suffer the second deepest economic decline in 2020, only surpassed by the Euro Area. But it was the need to enforce strict limits to mobility and adopt new digital technologies that turned vague ideas into an urgent demand to understand the future of work. Moreover, rapid and in many cases massive spending by governments drew attention to shortcomings in public procurement processes and limited transparency in the use of public funds.

In response, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is launching the “Future of Work” initiative.

The initiative seeks to spur a dialogue and collaborative research to inform the region’s thought leaders and policy makers about the way Covid-19 is affecting and will shape work. CIPE will partner with four prestigious think tanks from the region: Argentina’s Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC), Colombia’s Fedesarrollo, Guatemala’s Centro de Investigaciones Económicas Nacionales (CIEN), and Mexico’s México Evalúa to produce analyses, exchange ideas, and develop a policy document to share with policy makers.

These institutions were actively studying the future of work before Covid-19 and have been at the forefront of current debates and knowledge production. In bringing these actors together, CIPE will connect timely ideas from across the region to strengthen individual country responses. We believe our partnership is well placed to serve as a resource and a tool to improve Latin America’s future of work. We invite other think tanks and relevant organizations to join us and help the region realize a more prosperous future.

Building on our inaugural event in May, the initiative will focus on the following three areas of interest:

1- The new normal: What adaptations brought on by Covid-19 are here to stay, and what do they mean for the Latin American labor market?

2- Kickstarting economies: Once the pandemic abates, which policies and reforms will be necessary for long-term growth?

3- The digitalization agenda: A lack of digital technology and innovations limited governments’ responses during the pandemic, what reforms are pending to shift Latin America toward a digital future?

In the coming weeks and months, we will be hosting events, posting articles, and sharing links to relevant content. Stay tuned and follow #futureofworklac in social media for more information and updates.