Mexico’s Carlos Slim unveils $8.3bn investment drive

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim says he is to invest $8.3bn (£5bn) in 19 countries, mainly in Latin America. The bulk of the money, some $3.6bn, is destined for his businesses in Mexico, including telecommunications, mining and road-building. Drug-related violence affecting some regions of Mexico was no reason to stop investing in the country, Mr Slim said. Last year he knocked Bill Gates off the top of Forbes magazine’s billionaire’s list with a fortune put at $53.5bn. The planned $3.6bn for Mexico, a 13% rise on last year, would go to a range of sectors, with the bulk going to telecommunications, Mr Slim told a news conference in Mexico City. “Whoever doesn’t invest, be it out of fear or caution, will be left behind,” he said.

Mr Slim said he believed the Mexican economy would continue to grow in 2011 and 2012. Violence and insecurity in the country were serious problems, he said, but violence could be found everywhere. “What can be more worrying is economic uncertainty, to see that developed countries have huge deficits, high rates of unemployment, undercapitalised financial systems, and that they are merely adopting palliative measures that don’t resolve the problems.” Other key countries for investment were Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina, he said.

Mr Slim, 71, the son of Lebanese immigrants, controls more than 200 companies across Latin America, ranging from telecoms, where he first made his fortune, to infrastructure, banking and retail. In 2008, he bought stakes in the New York Times newspaper and in the struggling bank Citigroup. – BBC