Spain Seeks Economic Future with Former Colonies

PHOTO: Spains King Juan Carlos is all ears as he welcomes Brazil?s President Dilma Rousseff at the Royal Palace, in Madrid, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.

Spain's king, Juan Carlos, did not tell anyone to shut up at this year's Ibero-American summit, knowing that Latin America's economic growth could be the answer to his country's economic crisis.

Leaders from Latin America, Spain and Portugal, gathered in Cadiz, Spain – the port city where riches extracted from the former colonies were once brought – to discuss commercial and investment cooperation during this event.

Latin America is expected to grow 4.4 percent in 2012. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that region will grow 3.2 percent in 2013 and 4 percent in 2014.

"Spain and Portugal have in the Ibero-American relationship an essential point for stimulating growth," Ibero-American Secretary-General Enrique Iglesias said in his opening remarks. "International cooperation can speed up recovery and reduce the social cost, above all unemployment."

Unemployment in Spain is at 25 percent and growing. The rate for those under 25 is above 50 percent.

For a decade, Spanish companies have expanded their investments to Latin America, and that region's strong growth has helped the country weather its economic storm.

Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications company, reported a recent profit thanks to half of its revenues coming from Latin America. And banking giant Santander says 50 percent of its profits come from the region, according to Reuters.

The summit also focused on how to bring Latin America's nearly 600 million customers to small businesses in Spain and Portugal.

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