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IDB annual meeting to showcase Medellin renaissance
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12:33, March 27, 2009

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Medellin, Colombia's second largest city and industrial hub, will host the 50th annual meeting of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on March 27-31.

Medellin, 200 km northwest of Bogota, was chosen to host the meeting as a leading example of urban regeneration and a model for other cities in Latin America to follow.

Once a violent and dangerous city in Latin America, Medellin has undergone a renaissance over the last decade due to a series of bold infrastructure projects and enlightened civic policies.

Once home to the world's most powerful drug gang, Medellin was defined by two words 10 years ago: violence and drug smuggling.

In 1990s, Medellin was one of deadliest cities in the world, it had the world's highest murder rate in 1991 (381 per 100,000 inhabitants). It also faced serious social inequality problems.

According to historian Jose Roberto Jaramillo, Medellin exemplified the most violent and cruel history of Colombia, the world's main producer of cocaine. Clashes between the army and the guerillas as well as drug smugglers occurred frequently in Colombia.

Medellin's renaissance started several years ago. Thanks to innovative and extensive social development plans, thriving communities replaced slum areas, landscape parks replaced garbage dumps, and homicide rate has dropped by more than 90% since the 1990s.

Now Medellin should be defined with the words security, equality, and hospitality, according to local officials.

The annual meeting of governors on Thursday, attended by top bankers, and heads of IDB's 48 member states, will discuss such issues as capitalization of IDB, aimed at coping with Latin America's future financing needs, and the global economic crisis.

Source: Xinhua

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