Clarke closes IDB chairmanship with increased support for battered regional economies
Jamaica’s Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke has passed the baton as chairman of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with credit for an increase in financial support provided to small and vulnerable countries of the region under his tenure.
Clarke, a University of the West Indies and Oxford University-educated mathematician, was the first Jamaican in decades elected to the top post of the region’s oldest and largest development finance institution.
Speaking yesterday, Clarke pointed to fallouts from the coronavirus pandemic in regional economies and “new global shocks” such as the Russia-Ukraine war and its impact on energy and other commodity prices, inflation, among other things.
But he was pleased at the support given to the IDB’s borrowing members.
“We welcome the operational update provided – noting the increase in approval amounts (the average approved value of the last five years was US$12.75 billion) which represents a 21 per cent increase from the preceding five-year period,” he said during yesterday’s inaugural session of the 2023 Annual Meeting of the IDB and its private sector arm, the IDB Investment Corporation, in Panama City, Panama.
Clarke noted that approvals for small and some of the most vulnerable countries in Latin America and the Caribbean were approximately US$5.8 billion in 2022, an eight per cent increase over 2021. The allocation also represented 46 per cent of approvals in 2022, which is 11 percentage points above the 35 per cent targeted.
Last September, the board voted to remove Mauricio Claver-Carone as IDB president over allegations of impropriety, which the American denies.
Panama’s Finance Minister Hector Alexander was elected to replace Clarke as chairman of the Board of Governors, the IDB’s highest decision-making body comprising mainly finance ministers of member countries. He will serve for one year.
Of the IDB’s 48 members, 22 are non-borrowing, meaning that they provide capital and have voting representation on the boards.