Brazil and Mexico

Brazil to nominate candidate for IDB presidency

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, October 13, 2022

Brazil will nominate a candidate to head the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), an official, requesting anonymity, told BNamericas. 

"Brazil would like a Latin American to be the next president of the IDB with a five-year term and an executive with experience in both the public and private sectors," said the person. 

"We want the next president of the IDB to be linked to a mandate that emphasizes the green economy, digital transformations and the integration of Latin America. There are important projects the IDB should support, such as integrating the Vaca Muerta gas fields in Argentina with Brazil, as well as supporting the creation of logistical corridors between Brazil and Peru," according to the source. 

Mauricio Claver-Carone, who was promoted by the Trump White House, stepped down, after an internal investigation exposed an affair with a subordinate. He denied any wrongdoing.

Speculation on the Brazilian candidate centers on economy minister Paulo Guedes, who was appointed to implement the Bolsonaro administration’s economic liberalization agenda.

But weeks before the presidential runoff on October 30, signs emerge Guedes might leave the government, even if incumbent Jair Bolsonaro turns around the race, currently projected to be won by former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“Paulo Guedes is our Pelé [considered the world's best soccer player in history] – let's put it this way – in the economy. For me, he continues. I don't know if he wants to continue despite his age. At the moment, no minister has said he wants to leave the government after my possible re-election,” Bolsonaro told a local newspaper.

"The IDB's presidency will play a key role in this next administration, as the world is going through a time of major credit restriction due to interest rate hikes. The institution's role in project financing in 2023 will be more important than it has been in recent years," Roberto Troster, former chief economist at Brazilian banking federation Febraban and now an economist at consultancy Troster & Associates told BNamericas.

"Historically, countries have liked to have their [appointees] approved to the IDB's board more as a sign of international prestige than in practical terms of more funding, but in the face of the challenging global scenario currently the emphasis will be on the institution's loans strategy," he added.

But Brazil will also need to marshall international support.

Recently, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promoted the country’s ambassador to Chile, Alicia Bárcena, as IDB head. Other potential contenders are Chile’s former president Michelle Bachelet, Costa Rica’s former president Laura Chinchilla Miranda, and Reina Irene Mejía Chacón, who is serving as the IDB’s interim president.

Brazil’s candidate could face opposition if Bolsonaro is reelected, as several governments in the region are led by left-wing presidents. And if Lula wins, the IDB selection process will fall into a transitional period for Brazil, also complicating gaining support from other countries.

Nominations can be made until November 11, while the board of governors will vote on November 20.

Candidates need to win the absolute majority of the bank's votes, as well as an absolute majority of governors representing member countries, 26 borrowing member countries, plus Canada and the US.

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