Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón addressed the challenges faced by one of Latin America's largest cities and pointed to advances in fiscal management, investments in education, and social programming. Though Mexico City is the most modern and richest city in Mexico, it suffers from deep social inequality and poverty like much of the rest of the country, he said. To strengthen the social safety net, Ebrard said his administration has implemented a set of New Deal-like policies, such as unemployment insurance, old age pensions, and expanded secondary school investment, which he said has lowered the dropout rate from 24 percent to 8 percent, cut down on attendant crime, and driven more young people into the formal labor markets.
Ebrard added that the city has made important transportation infrastructure investments aimed at decreasing reliance on personal automobiles, through the construction of a new subway line and through promotion of bicycle lanes. The Mexico City mayor said that the capital city needs to look beyond services and manufacturing toward the development of knowledge-based industries that focus on science and technology. He noted that the city has achieved recent successes in its fiscal management, completing a debt restructuring on favorable terms and extracting from federal legislators unprecedented budget appropriations for the city's massive subway system.
During a question-and-answer period, Ebrard said that his party, the center-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), has "no natural candidate" for the 2012 presidential election and would need to do considerable restructuring in order to be competitive in that election.