Ilan Goldfajn was supported by the United States, Canada, and Mercosur
Ilan Goldfajn — Foto: Ana Paula Paiva/Valor
With the decisive support of the United States, Canada and the entire Mercosur, former Brazil’s Central Bank President Ilan Goldfajn was elected Sunday president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Mr. Goldfajn, the first Brazilian in the position, will take office for a five-year term on December 19th.
The victory was considered “overwhelming” by the Brazilian government, which celebrated the conquest. The IDB’s election system considers the votes of countries according to their participation in the institution’s capital. Mr. Goldfajn obtained the support of 17 countries, which correspond to more than 80% of the voting power.
“Taking over the presidency of the IDB is an honor and a great opportunity for me, as a Brazilian, after 63 years that JK [Juscelino Kubitschek] had this dream,” Mr. Goldfajn told Valor.
In his first speech after being elected president, Mr. Goldfajn pledged to lead the institution “in all its diversity.” “I will be the president of the high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries. I will be the president of the regional members and also of the non-regional members. I will be the president of the countries of South America, Central America, North America, and the Caribbean countries,” he said in a video posted on Twitter by the IDB’s executive director for Brazil and Suriname, Martha Seillier.
The result shows that the noise caused by former Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who sent letters to a number of countries asking for postponement of the election, has been contained. The maneuver left some countries confused about the Brazilian candidacy.
“This is a candidacy of the Brazilian state, which will govern on behalf of and for the benefit of the entire region,” Foreign Trade Secretary Lucas Ferraz, who coordinated Mr. Goldfajn’s campaign and was responsible for negotiations with the organization’s member countries, told Valor.
Mr. Ferraz pointed out, on the other hand, that this is a “legacy” of president Jair Bolsonaro (Liberal Party, PL) and the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes. It was also one of the rare victories of Brazilian diplomacy under the Bolsonaro administration, in which the promises of gains in the rapprochement with Mr. Trump did not materialize, for example.
Despite resistance from some wings of the new administration, Mr. Goldfajn defends causes that are common to President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the Biden administration, who has been advocating a more present role in issues such as climate change.
In a statement, the Ministry of Economy said that Mr. Goldfajn’s election is a result of the campaign led by the ministry. Moreover, it stressed that it is a recognition of the platform presented by Brazil: physical and digital infrastructure; fight against poverty, inequality and food insecurity; and climate change and biodiversity.
To Márcio Olímpio Fernandes, political analyst at Ohmresearch, Mr. Goldfajn’s election means an attempt at stabilization for the IDB after a tense period of the Claver-Carone administration, whose appointment by Mr. Trump broke the tradition of the institution always being chaired by a Latin American.
According to Pedro Silva Barros, economist at Ipea and head of the institute’s mission to Venezuela under the Lula and Rousseff administrations, the expectation in the new administration is that Mr. Goldfajn “will not repeat Claver-Carone’s mistake, which was to make a Trumpist management without [former President Donald] Trump” in power.
“What the new government of Brazil expects is for Mr. Goldfajn to do a Latin American management, not a pro-Bolsonaro management without Bolsonaro,” he said. “There will be in the coming period a resumption of Latin Americanism led by Brazil and Mr. Lula. The IDB can and should support that agenda.”
Source: Valor International