On July 2 last year, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, representing the left-wing Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) party, was elected mayor of Mexico City and took office on December 5. He appointed Mario Delgado Carrillo as the city’s minister of finance.
Meanwhile, Felipe Calderón, from the rival right-wing Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) party, was elected president of the country and assumed office on December 1.
Mr Ebrard hails from the same party as Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who stood against Mr Calderon for the presidency.
Today, Mr Ebrard and Mr Calderon have to work together if they want to tackle the challenges Mexico City faces and realise its huge potential.
Joydeep Mukherji, director of the sovereign ratings group at Standard & Poor’s, says: “PRD governors from throughout Mexico have now met with Mr Calderon but, as far as we know, Mr Ebrard has yet to do so. However, it is true that both men want to promote economic growth and foreign investment.”
Problems to solve
He continues: “The problems that Mexico City faces – mostly related to transport and the environment – are reasonable ones. Foreign investors encounter similar problems when they do business in other big cities, such as New Delhi or Shanghai.”
He adds that Mr Obrador’s blockade of one of Mexico City’s main streets, Paseo de la Reforma – which started in July last year and lasted three months, involving more than one million protestors – had sent a negative signal to foreign investors.
“Mr Ebrard faces a challenge to overcome that perception,” Mr Mukherji adds. “He has to deal with that.”
Jean Jacques Saint-Lezin, chief executive of the Mexican office of Dexia, a French bank specialising in public sector finance, is one investor who has already been convinced.
Dexia has committed about $800m to the country and plans to double that sum. “It is easy to do business in Mexico City if you are professional, if you have a high-quality team in place,” says Mr Saint-Lezin “No one knew us here just a couple of years ago and now we have a major presence.”