‘Our Latin American societies are impatient with the social question’

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is the main financing institution in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ilan Goldfjan, its president was with us at Escala in Paris. Invited to the “Summit for a new global financial pact” organized by the French presidency, he spoke of the urgency of responding to the growing “social inequality in the region”, of reinforcing resilience mechanisms in the face of climate change and of the need to create “a new culture” in the institution to make it more effective.

Latin America and the Caribbean is suffering, like the rest of the world, the effects of a multifaceted crisis in which the consequences of the war in Ukraine as a result of Russian aggression, the remnants of the Covid-19 pandemic and the acceleration of climate change. To which must be added the increase in poverty and social inequality.

Faced with these challenges, Ilan Goldfjan, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, warns: “We have a lot to work on in Latin America because we see our societies increasingly impatient with the social issue.”

“Progressive”, “conservative”, “ultra-right” governments have followed one another uninterruptedly in the region in recent decades, but none has been able to ensure stable growth for their country. Worse, since the beginning of this century the Latin American economies they grew twelve times less than those of Asia.

In order to close this gap, Ilan Goldfajn points out that a multiple approach is necessary that includes “training, education, financial inclusion, formalization of work, and strengthening of institutions” that go beyond a government.

The IDB has been financing development projects in the region for more than six decades, although its activity has not always been considered suitable for achieving those objectives. Upon assuming the presidency in 2022, Ilan Goldfjan declared that it was necessary to “revitalize this body”, which means “being very clear that people’s lives must be changed, and working on regional integration”, he assures.

In April 2022, before Ilan Goldfajn took over as director of the IDB, various social organizations in Colombia sent an open letter to the Institution in which they highlighted that, given that Colombia is the third country in the region that has received the most financing from the IDB, they ask him to “change the development model promoted by the Bank”. lan Goldfjan concedes that it is necessary to “better target resources” and monitor accurately so that the population really notices the impact.

And in that strategy, the fight against the effects of climate change and mitigation plans occupy a prominent place. The French presidency is organizing this June 22 and 23, a summit on new financial instruments and innovations to improve development. Three weeks later, in Brussels, the representatives of the European Union and CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) will meet. The IDB will participate in both events.

“Latin America is a very important region for the solution to climate change. In addition, the IDB has made great progress in recent years in how we can use resources efficiently to attract more resources, not only for the region but for the world as a whole. “, tells us.

Among the Bank’s proposals, iExchange debt for climate resources. In fact, “the loans are aligned with the Paris objectives.”

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Editorial coordination: Florence Valdes

Direction: Laure Temperville, Léo Bernard, Dominique Fiant

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