COVID-19, sustainable development challenges of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the potential engines for an SDGs-based recovery

Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region and to discuss imperative engines for potential regional recovery. Design/methodology/approach This study conceptually discusses the effects of COVID-19 on the LAC region and highlights potential areas for recovery. Findings The LAC region have a history of facing structural development challenges – due to digital inequality, environmental degradation, erosion of democracy and financial debt – which have led to a profound discontent among people in the LAC region and this dissatisfaction has been intensified by the crises stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. LAC region can increase its resilience and recover its path to sustainable development by consolidating impact-based regional value chains, attracting sustainability-themed foreign direct investment and nurturing structural development to facilitate LAC companies to expand into international markets (“multilatinas”). Research limitations/implications There are some preliminary studies on the economic and social impact of COVID-19 on the LAC region, however, the strategies that emerging and developing economies might pursue to promptly recover are still a matter of discussion. The uncertainty and heterogeneity of the developing and emerging economies and the multidimensional needed actions require local adaptations and adjustments. Originality/value The LAC COVID-19 crisis recovery requires shared responsibility, global solidarity, urgent and immediate cooperation and structural transformations to enable deeper regional integration. This integration should focus on impact-based value chains to be resiliently adaptable to changing global realities and arduous local contexts. This paper provides integrative avenues for potential regional recovery within the region.

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