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Founding

The IDB was formally created in 1959, when the Organization of American States (OAS) drafted the Articles of Agreement establishing the Inter-American Development Bank. The official date of creation is December 29, 1959.

During the first meeting of the Board of Governors in El Salvador in 1960, resolutions were passed on various administrative matters, including incorporation of new members, election of the President of the Bank, and date of the commencement of operations. Felipe Herrera, the Chilean delegate, was elected the first President of the Bank.

For more information on our History, please go to our Historical Milestones.




Luis Alberto Moreno, 2005 – Present

Luis Alberto Moreno assumed the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank on October 1, 2005. He was re-elected to a five-year term during a special meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors on July 6, 2010.

As President of the Bank, Moreno also serves as Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and Chairman of the Donors’ Committee of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).

Previous to joining the IDB, Moreno served as Colombia’s Ambassador to the United States for seven years. Ambassador Moreno oversaw a dramatic improvement in Colombian-U.S. relations during his tenure in Washington. His most notable achievement was the successful effort to build strong bipartisan support in the United States Congress for passage of more than US$6 billion in U.S. assistance programs for Colombia. These resources have contributed to a material positive transformation of the security and economic situation in Colombia.

Prior to his post as Ambassador, Moreno served a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors in Colombia. Immediately prior to his appointment in Washington, he served as representative for the Andean Region of WestSphere Capital, a private equity firm focusing on investment opportunities in Latin America, from August 1997 to July 1998. Previously, he served as senior advisor to the Luis Carlos Sarmiento Organization, the leading banking & financial group in Colombia with over US$10 billion in assets, from November 1994 to August 1997.

From 1991 to 1994, during the administration of President César Gaviria, Moreno worked in the Colombian Government in a variety of leadership positions. From December 1991 to July 1992, Moreno was the President of the Instituto de Fomento Industrial (IFI), the Colombian government’s industrial finance corporation, and a holding company for many of the largest state enterprises in the country. As head of IFI, Moreno led a successful privatization program and developed new financing instruments for private industry to take advantage of the Gaviria administration’s economic liberalization policy. In July 1992, he was named Minister of Economic Development. During his tenure, he modernized the Ministry and its subordinated agencies, and led the design and implementation of Colombia’s industrial policy and competitiveness strategy. He was also in charge of part of the Government’s social investment portfolio, notably its low-income housing strategy. Upon leaving the Ministry in January 1994, he was tapped to chair Andrés Pastrana’s Presidential Campaign.

Previously, Moreno was Executive Producer of “TV Hoy” news program. During his tenure, “TV Hoy” received the “King of Spain Prize” for journalistic excellence, the Spanish language equivalent of a Pulitzer.

Throughout his career, Moreno has received some of the highest decorations and distinctions awarded by the Colombian state and the country’s private sector, including the “Orden de Boyacá en el Grado de Gran Cruz”—the highest distinction given by the Colombian state—, awarded by the President of Colombia on August 2, 2002.

Moreno’s writings have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, and he has been a guest speaker in a wide variety of academic, political and economic forums in the United States, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

Moreno obtained bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Economics from Florida Atlantic University in 1975, and an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management at Thunderbird University in 1977. For his distinguished work in the field of journalism, he was awarded a Neiman Fellowship by Harvard University to undertake studies at that institution from September 1990 to June 1991.

Enrique Iglesias, 1988 – 2005

Born in Asturias, Spain, Iglesias is a naturalized Uruguayan citizen. He graduated from the Uruguay’s Universidad de la República in Economics and Business Administration in 1953 and pursued specialized programs of study in the United States and France.

Prior to his election as president of the IDB, Iglesias was from 1961 to 1969, the Technical Director of Uruguay's National Planning Office. As such he was in charge of preparing that country's First National Plan for Economic and Social Development.

From 1967 to 1969, as President of Uruguay's Central Bank, he headed several missions at the national and international level, on behalf of his government.

From 1964 to 1967 he was also Uruguay's delegate to the Conferences of the Latin American Free Trade Association (ALALC) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and representative of the Inter-American Committee of the Alliance for Progress (Comité Interamericano of the Alianza para el Progreso, CIAP). In 1968 he headed the experts group that worked with Dr. Raúl Prebisch to prepare a broad study on economic conditions in Latin America, under the auspices of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). In 1970, he went on to head a planning advisory group with the CORDIPLAN office of the Government of Venezuela.

He was appointed ECLAC Executive Secretary on 27 March 1972, a post he held until February 1985, with the rank of Undersecretary-General and then Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. In May 1982 the United Nations Secretary-General appointed him Special Advisor on New and Renewable Energy Sources to the General Director for International Economic Development and Cooperation, at UN headquarters.

He was Uruguay’s Minister of Foreign Relations, (1985-1988); Executive Secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), (1972-1985); Secretary General of the U.N. Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, held in Kenya in 1981; and chairman of the conference that launched the Uruguay Round of international trade negotiations in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in 1986. These negotiations led to the creation of the World Trade Organization, the successor to the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade. Iglesias served as President of Uruguay’s Central Bank from 1966 to 1968. Iglesias has taught economic development at Uruguay’s Universidad de la República and served as director of its Institute of Economics. He has written numerous articles and papers on Latin American and Uruguayan economic issues, capital markets, external financing and multilateralism. Iglesias has received many honorary academic degrees and professional awards.

Also in the academic field, he served on the governing board of the Latin American Social Sciences Council (CLACSO) and participated in many training sessions organized by ECLAC, the Institute for Latin American Integration (INTAL) and the Latin American and Caribbean Institute for Economic and Social Planning (ILPES). He sat on the ILPES Board of Directors from 1965 on, serving as President of this body from 1967 to 1972 and Interim Director from 1977 to 1978.

During Iglesias’ tenure, the governors of the IDB member countries concluded in 1989 the negotiations on the Seventh General Increase in Resources, which added $26.5 billion to the Bank’s ordinary capital and $200 million to the Fund for Special Operations (FSO), the institution’s soft lending window. In 1995 the governors approved the Eighth General Increase in Resources, adding $40 billion to the ordinary capital to reach a total of $101 billion and $1 billion to the FSO, which resources thus exceed $10 billion.

Also during Iglesias’ tenure, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) started operations to support small- and medium sized businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean with loans and equity investments. The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) was established under IDB administration in 1993 to support private sector growth through grants, technical assistance and equity investments.

In September 2005 he stepped down as President of the IDB, a position he assumed for the fourth time on 1 April 2003.

Antonio Ortiz Mena, 1970 – 1988

A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, was a lawyer by profession and a graduate of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He became the IDB's second president, following Felipe Herrera. Antonio Ortiz Mena was with the IDB since it was first founded. In the 1954 meeting of ministers of finance and economy in Brazil that marked the beginning of the process to create the IDB, he was the alternate representative for the Mexican delegation and he participated actively in the negotiation process. Before coming to the IDB, he was Mexico's Minister of Finance and Public Credit for two six-year terms, serving from 1958 to 1970, a very prosperous period for the Mexican economy. He would have celebrated his 100th birthday on April 16th of 2007.

His accomplishments as president of the IDB were many. One of his most outstanding achievements was the Declaration of Madrid, which permitted countries outside the Western Hemisphere to become members of the IDB and brought with it a substantial increase in financial resources for the IDB. During his tenure as president, membership increased from 23 to 44 countries, including 15 European countries, Israel and Japan. Canada and several English-speaking Caribbean countries also joined the IDB under his leadership.

The Bank's lending multiplied to ten times its prior level during Former President Ortiz Mena's tenure, beginning at $4 billion in 1970 and growing to $40 billion by 1987. Ordinary Capital resources increased from $2.4 billion to $34 billion during that same period. The former president was a pioneer in financing business development projects and technical cooperation operations in the region, and in 1978, he launched the Bank's first microenterprise program, as well as the Small Projects Program. He also expanded concessional lending to the less developed countries in the region.

Antonio Ortiz Mena was born on April 16, 1907 in Parral, Chihuahua. He died on March 12, 2007 in Mexico City. He is survived by his wife, Martha Salinas de Ortiz Mena, six children, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Felipe Herrera , 1960 – 1970

Felipe Herrera was founder and first President of the Inter-American Development Bank during the decade of 1960 to 1970.

He was born in Valparaiso, Chile, in June 17, 1922. Felipe Herrera graduated as lawyer in 1947, at the University of Chile and as economist at the London School of Economics. Since his early years he demonstrated interest and devotion for public vocation always aiming at the common good. As a sophomore he represented his class before the Student Council and later, at the age of 22, he was elected president of the Student Federation (FECH). In these roles he manifested his extraordinary organizing ability and leadership skills. Since then he continue directing his career towards the economic and cultural integration and the development of Latin America. He was not only a pioneer of the region but a remarkable human being who devoted his life to this cause.

His career was versatile and meteoric. After his post-graduate studies he held several high-rank positions. At the age of 26, he was appointed general manager of the Central Bank of Chile and after a short period of time he attained the post of Minister of Finance of Chile. In this capacity he also acted as governor at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

He arrived in Washington in 1958 as Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund representing the southern countries of Latin America commonly known as Cono Sur. His vision to create a development bank was latent all these years (1953-1958).

In 1959, after a year of his arrival to Washington, the Comission of the Organization of American States (OAS) hammered out an agreement of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) creation. In his own words, birth was given to a bank of integration, a bank of ideas, and the bank of the latinoamerican university. He not only promoted technically and financially this process of integration but promoted integration of cultures, ideas, politics, and experiences among the region countries.

He died in Santiago de Chile on September 17, 1996.

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