ICMA looks to expand partnership between US, Latin American local leaders

The International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) is looking for a few good local government administrators.

According to a newsletter announcement, the group is asking interested US-based municipalities to join ICMA Latinoamérica in a partnership program designed to open money markets to sub-national governments in Latin America.

“The program is really about helping sub-national governments get access to money,” says ICMA Latinoamérica Director Octavio Chávez.

According to Mr. Chávez, the financial management partnership program began a little over a year ago and was made possible through a World Bank grant.

“The Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility saw this partnership as a way to help cities and state governments in Latin America improve credit and borrow at more reasonable rates,” he said.

“There is an underlying need to help them run better, perform better.”

During the first year of the program, ICMA employed its CityLinks model, teaming finance professionals from US jurisdictions with counterparts in Mexico. These US teams assessed factors that affect their counterparts’ creditworthiness and then they worked together to design plans for improvement.

“Rather than just advise them,” Chávez said, “we team them with a US entity that has proven successful with the money market – good bond ratings, credit history, etc.”

ICMA Latinoamérica has secured a second year of funding from the World Bank to expand the program beyond the projects in Mexico. Mr. Chávez said the program is launching in two other countries, Costa Rica and Argentina.

ICMA and ICMA Latinoamérica are asking for city leaders to apply to be one of the six jurisdictions selected for the program’s second iteration. The partnership will meet over the next eight to ten months, including one visit abroad to the Latin American jurisdiction (with an additional visit by the Latin American officials to the US.)

ICMA will pay for the trip, including travel and a per diem allowance.

Interested parties should visit the ICMA International Web site for more details. Mr. Chavez said decisions will be made within the next few weeks.

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