The past years have rightfully seen a huge focus on the rise of China and, more recently, on the chaos in Europe.
However, something closer and potentially more substantive has been developing on America’s doorstep.
Over the previous couple decades, much of Latin America has transformed itself from an economic backwater into a dynamic player in the global marketplace.
While some of the world’s highest crime rates in countries like Mexico, Honduras, and Venezuela still dominate the headlines, the region has critically experienced the creation of democratic institutions and burgeoning civil societies.
Economically, Latin America has performed far better than other parts of the world since 2008. The effective harnessing of the region’s abundant natural resources has been joined with world-class manufacturers like CEMEX and Embraer.
The results are clear: each year tens of millions of Latin Americans are lifted out of poverty and join an ever-growing middle class.
A more stable political and economic climate is being underpinned by an enhanced infrastructure. Next generation telecommunications and transport networks are rapidly being implemented. The expansion of the Panama Canal is right on track for 2014.
For American companies, the region is now more than merely a provider of cheap respurces - human and natural. It is also a growing consumer of high-value U.S. made services and products.
Going forward, as China and Europe continue to slow down, U.S. firms will find Latin American buyers far more attractive and accessible than the past.
This integration is buoyed by ever-closer cultural connections. Hispanics are already the largest minority group in the U.S. Within the next decade, more than 20% of the total U.S. population will be Hispanic.
Further, the U.S. is increasingly powered by energy from the Western Hemisphere.
All of this transformation will provide more and better opportunities for U.S. firms across the region.
How’s your Spanish and Portuguese?