Sunday, August 14, 2022

ARGENTINA | 04-03-2020 16:50

Brazil, Argentina compete Inter-American development bank top job

Brazil is pushing for its own candidates to lead the Inter-American development bank, competing with Argentina; a decision will likely come between July and September.

Brazil plans to push for its own candidate to lead the Inter-American Development Bank, vying with Argentina for the regional lender’s top job, as President Jair Bolsonaro seeks to capitalise on the political alliance with his US counterpart Donald Trump.

Marcos Troyjo, the Economy Ministry’s special secretary for Foreign Trade and International Affairs, is said to have the best shot at becoming Brazil’s candidate, according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named as the discussion isn’t public.

Brazil's Economy Minister Paulo Guedes has also considered Maria Silvia Bastos, who chairs Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s advisory board in Brazil, for the IDB nomination, two of the people said.

The Washington-based IDB is the top development institution dedicated to Latin America and the Caribbean, providing billions of dollars in loans and technical assistance to a region with chronic infrastructure and financial shortages. Its president, Luis Alberto Moreno, took on the job in 2005 and has been re-elected twice. The next head will start a five-year term in October after a selection process that’s set to formally begin in the coming months.

A spokesperson for Brazil’s Economy Ministry and the IDB press office declined to comment on candidacies when contacted by Bloomberg News. Bastos, who headed the country’s development bank BNDES before heading to Goldman Sachs, also declined to comment.

Argentine bid

Bolsonaro is likely to discuss the country’s interest in the job with Trump if both leaders meet at Mar-a-Lago this weekend, during a trip of the Brazilian president to Miami, according to three of the people with knowledge of the situation. Backing of the US is crucial to win the position, given its 30 percent share of the bank and de-facto veto power over its leadership decisions. The biggest stakeholders after the US are Brazil and Argentina at 11 percent each, and Mexico at 7.2 percent.

Brazil’s sudden interest in the position complicates things for Argentina’s candidate, Gustavo Beliz, currently President Alberto Fernández’s secretary for strategic affairs, who has already received the formal backing of the Mexican government.

Since taking office last year, Bolsonaro has revamped his nation’s foreign policy by pursuing closer ties with the United States and its allies, eschewing the country’s decades-old tradition of multilateralism and repeatedly expressing his admiration for Trump. While Bolsonaro had initially considered endorsing an Argentine for the job, circumstances changed after Fernández, an ideological rival, won the presidency in October.

Brazil’s IDB candidate decision is further complicated by the fact that the Bolsonaro administration must simultaneously choose a head for another development bank set up by members of the BRICS group that includes Russia, India, China and South Africa. The first president was appointed by India, and now it’s Brazil’s turn. Troyjo is also under consideration for that job, the people said.

Selection of the next IDB head will be among the most talked about topics at the bank’s annual governor’s meeting in Colombia later this month, with a decision likely being made between July and September.

by Martha Beck & Eric Martin, Bloomberg


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