Latin America Has Opportunity to Shine, IDB’s President Says

Inter-American Development Bank lent $23.5 billion in 2021; the US aims to strengthen ties with Latin America at June summit

Mauricio Claver-Carone, IADB President.
By Maria Eloisa Capurro and Shery Ahn
May 18, 2022 | 08:11 AM

Bloomberg — Latin America and the Caribbean has a unique opportunity to secure new investments and boost spending on infrastructure as recent geopolitical events favor the region, Mauricio Claver-Carone, head of a key development bank, said.

“There’s an opportunity for the region to shine,” said Claver-Carone, the first non-Latin American to lead the Inter-American Development Bank, in an interview with Bloomberg TV ahead of Bloomberg’s New Economy Gateway conference that starts Wednesday in Panama.

As risk sentiment among investors has shifted amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply-chain disruptions and Covid-19 shut-downs, he expects the region to grow 2% to 3% this year, though it could be higher than current estimates.

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The IDB’s chief also sees annual investments in the region of above $20 billion annually as “the new normal” for the institution. Last year the Washington-based bank lent a record $23.5 billion to the region, focusing on boosting the economy and offering credit lines to buy Covid-19 vaccines for a region that was one of hardest hit globally by the pandemic.

The bank is also looking to increase the number of US investors in the region, as it focuses on financing “across the board” in services and manufacturing as well as infrastructure. “I don’t want a single company to look at China before it looks at Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said. Since he was appointed, Claver-Carone has advocated for a capital increase for the organization’s arm that lends to the private sector.

President Joe Biden’s administration is trying to strengthen its ties with the region, as it faces an increase in migrants coming from Latin America. It plans to present a package to bolster economic activity at the Summit of the Americas next month in Los Angeles. His efforts are already facing pushback, as the presidents of Mexico and Brazil have said they might skip the event entirely unless representatives from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are invited., in an interview with Bloomberg TV ahead of Bloomberg’s New Economy Gateway conference that starts Wednesday in Panama.

As risk sentiment among investors has shifted amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply-chain disruptions and Covid-19 shut-downs, he expects the region to grow 2% to 3% this year, though it could be higher than current estimates.

PUBLICIDAD

The IDB’s chief also sees annual investments in the region of above $20 billion annually as “the new normal” for the institution. Last year the Washington-based bank lent a record $23.5 billion to the region, focusing on boosting the economy and offering credit lines to buy Covid-19 vaccines for a region that was one of hardest hit globally by the pandemic.

The IDB is doing “everything possible” to make the summit a “successful one.”