Horst Köhler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, addressed the Special Summit of the Americas today in Monterrey, Mexico.

The heads of state and government of the 34 democratic member countries of the Organization of American States have gathered in Monterrey, Mexico, for the Special Summit. In meetings today and tomorrow, they will consider a broad range of issues.

Specifically, the Presidents and Prime Ministers will evaluate progress made since the 2001 Summit of the Americas and examine steps the countries can take to achieve economic growth with equity, promote social development and strengthen democratic governance.

In his remarks today, Mr. Köhler expressed confidence that with the right policies *”the global economy is poised for a return to robust and sustained growth”*, and that with the economy of the United States leading the recovery, *”this hemisphere is again a locomotive for the world. “*

The IMF official said evidence in this region, and world-wide, affirms that the pursuit of market-oriented policies, fostering competition and innovation, remain the best path toward economic and social progress. He identified three critical elements for the foundation of lasting economic and social progress in the hemisphere:

· successful market-based economies have institutions that protect property rights, uphold the rule of law, combat corruption, and promote social stability.

· sound long-term management of public finances is indispensable for sustained growth, job creation, and social progress.

· the single most important engine for growth in the region lies in further strengthening trade.

He affirmed the IMF’s commitment to assist countries in the region build a better future for their people, indicating that it must deepen its cooperation with other fora to reduce volatility in global financial markets. *”And, in close collaboration with our partners at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, we must strive to ensure that we respond to the priority needs of this region in a coordinated way.”*

Mr. Köhler concluded that the current supportive global economic environment provides an opportunity to make decisive progress, and that with the right policies now, and with strong international cooperation, the challenges facing the region and the world can be overcome.

Prime Minister the Hon. Perry G. Christie is in Monterrey, leading a delegation of Bahamian officials participating in the meetings.