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LATIN AMERICA | 17-10-2022 13:57

Brazil to propose IMF’s Goldfajn to lead regional bank IDB

Top Brazilian officials look to former central bank president to head the multilateral lender.

Brazil will propose Ilan Goldfajn, the country’s former central bank president and current Western Hemisphere director at the International Monetary Fund, to lead the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), according to government officials. 

Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes told his US counterpart Janet Yellen about the decision to nominate Goldfajn to lead Latin America’s top development bank last week during meetings in Washington, according to the officials, who asked not to be named as the decision isn’t official yet. 

Brazil is the biggest economy in Latin America and the Caribbean to never have had one of its citizens lead the IDB, which was founded six decades ago and lends more than US$20 billion per year for development of the region. It will be competing directly with Mexico, which last month unveiled Alicia Bárcena as its candidate to lead the IDB.

Yellen had reacted favourably to Brazil naming a candidate but made no commitments, Guedes told reporters in Washington Friday without identifying the person. He added that Brazil is trying to build an alliance with Colombia at the IDB and that Chile will also make a nomination.  

Last week, the minister said he would like the next IDB president to be Latin American, to serve a five-year mandate, and to be an “extremely experienced person in both public and private sectors.” 

Brazil is two weeks away from choosing a new president in a run-off between former leader and front-runner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro on October 30.

Argentina will work to build support in the region to put forward a candidate of consensus, Economy Minister Sergio Massa said last week, though he refrained from naming the candidates under discussion.

The IMF and World Bank held their annual meetings in Washington last week, bringing global finance and central bank chiefs to the US capital at a fragile moment for the global economy.  The IDB also hosted an event with several finance ministers, and nations have until mid-November to nominate candidates.

The IDB member nations in September removed the lender’s president Mauricio Claver-Carone after a probe into an alleged romantic relationship with a top aide found he probably violated ethics rules. Claver-Carone has denied ever having a romantic relationship with the aide.

- Maria Eloisa Capurro, Bloomberg

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