Cecilia Todesca Bocco believes the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB/BID in its Spanish acronym), which she aspires to chair, should invest in "transformative axes" such as the environment and encourage private investment to make a productive “link” with, she has declared in an interview with AFP.
Todesca Bocco, currently International Economic Relations Secretary at the Foreign Ministry and Argentina’s candidate to head the IDB, is competing with four other candidates – from Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Trinidad & Tobago – to head the institution. The next chief of the Inter-American Development Bank will be decided on Sunday if a consensus regarding a single candidate is not reached beforehand.
While negotiations continue behind the scenes, Todesca Bocco, a 51-year-old economist, is in Washington to defend her vision for the IDB. She is convinced that the bank "can transform itself or deepen its capabilities as an instrument for the development of the region.”
"It doesn't matter where you put the money, and there is never enough money," so we must "try to find the axes that can be more transformative,” she declares, citing the challenges of productivity gaps, social exclusion, territorial exclusion, the impact of climate change and the problem of the distribution of care tasks – that is, who is in charge of making a household work, "a very important factor" for the emancipation of women, as the hopeful puts it.
Latin America has significant advantages to become a "development link," such as a wealth of natural resources, food, renewable and non-renewable energy and many young people, Todesca Bocco argues.
"In this complex world, with such bleak prospects, we see a concrete opportunity that has to do with the regional value chain," with "taking some of these issues and using them as a vector for development."
Todesca Bocco cited climate change as an example.
"It won't be the same for the region if it only imports technologies that will have less impact on the environment from other places, or if it can be part of the development of these technologies,” she said. "If it manages to create those links, then it will generate jobs, with rights and good salaries that will transform the region.”
But the IDB, a "mature" and "well-regarded institution in the region," should not act alone, she warned.
Nevertheless, the IDB, “with the size it is, even tenfold, can never be a substitute for private investment," argues Todesca Bocco..
"We have to find the most efficient instruments for the IDB to be a trigger, a catalyst, a promoter of private investment," because "investment rates in the region are low compared to developed countries and this is something that also has to be transformed."
The current moment "is a turning point, as shown by all the indicators,” she added. “We are facing severe problems and we need to articulate policies in terms of, for example, climate change here and now, and very strong ones."
This "requires a very important flow of resources, which does not mean that one cannot improve and make what one already has more efficient," he said.
The next president of the IDB will replace Mauricio Claver-Carone, the United States’ nomination, who was ousted after an investigation concluded that he favoured a subordinate with whom he was romantically involved.
Todesca Bocco welcomes the fact that the next head of the IDB will be Latin American, "because each of us" experiences "the problems of development on a daily basis and we are different economies from the United States."
For her, coming from Argentina, a country with recurrent economic crises, is a plus, because it allows her to have "a clear understanding of the development problems of middle-income countries, the impact of debt, the problems of bimonetarism [the use of two currencies], and all the region's capabilities."
"Is it a burden for me to be Argentina's candidate? No, because I have all of Argentina's problems in my portfolio, which means that I am very clear about the complexity of the problems of development," she argues.