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Background Papers

Mar 24, 2008

IDB in Brief

  • The Inter-American Development Bank was created in 1959 to help accelerate the economic and social development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and to promote regional integration.
  • The Bank has 47 member countries: 28 in the Western Hemisphere, 16 in Europe, as well as Israel, Japan and the Republic of Korea.  The Latin American and Caribbean countries as a group hold half the shares in the institution.
  • The Bank obtains its own financial resources from its 47 member countries, borrowings on the financial markets, trust funds that it administers and cofinancing ventures. The IDB’s debt rating is AAA, the highest available.
  • The IDB's highest authority is its Board of Governors, which meets annually to review Bank operations and make major policy decisions. The Board of Executive Directors (14 principals and 14 alternates) is responsible for the conduct of Bank operations. 
  • IDB president is elected by the Bank’s governors for a five-year term.  President Luis Alberto Moreno, of Colombia, was elected in 2005.
  • The IDB Group consists of the IDB, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). The IIC focuses on support for small and medium-sized businesses, while the MIF promotes private sector growth through grants and investments. The IDB is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has Country Offices in all 26 of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in Paris and Tokyo.
  • In 2007 the IDB Group approved $9.6 billion in new operations, a record excluding emergency loans. That figure includes $9 billion in loans and guarantees from the IDB, $470 million in financing from the IIC and $135 million in financing from the MIF, of which some $100 million was grants. Disbursements for projects in execution reached $7.6 billion, the highest figure in four years.
  • During the year, the IIC approved 62 projects totaling $470 million. The IIC funding mobilized an additional $274 million from other sources, helping to channel a total of $744 million to small and medium-sized enterprises in the region. IIC assets grew to $1.2 billion, more than double the $487 million in assets it had in 2004.
  • The MIF approved 109 grants for $100 million and 18 investments for $35 million, a total of $135 million in contributions for 127 projects. Disbursements in 2007 were $98 million.
  • As of December 31, 2007 the Bank had approved $156 billion in loans and guarantees for projects in such areas as energy, agriculture, transportation, communications, environment, poverty reduction, public health, economic and social reform, government modernization, urban development, education, science and technology, competitiveness, trade, tourism and small enterprises.
  • Among the highlights of IDB activities in 2007, the IDB launched an ambitious institutional realignment with a streamlined project approval process and a matrix-based organizational structure. Its responsive, client-centered business model is enabling the Bank to better tailor its products and services to the changing needs of individual governments and businesses in the region.
  • The IDB undertook an unprecedented expansion of lending to the private sector, approving $2.3 billion for 29 projects in 2007, compared with $920 million for 20 projects in 2006. This expansion reflects a new mandate allowing the Bank to finance much larger private sector operations (up to $400 million per project) and to work in previously excluded areas, such as manufacturing, natural resources, agribusiness and tourism.
  • A majority of the financing approved in 2007—a total of $5.7 billion—went to projects for infrastructure and competitiveness in such areas as transportation, energy and ports in export-intensive areas.
  • Among its activities to fight poverty, in 2007 the IDB approved 100 percent debt relief of the loans outstanding at year-end 2004 for Bolivia, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua—a total of $3.4 billion—and $1 billion in future interest payments. This measure has given the countries a historic opportunity to redirect resources toward priority social programs.
  • The IDB also approved its Opportunities for the Majority initiative, designed to bring the benefits of employment, economic growth, technology and basic services to low-income groups in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Given the critical importance of energy security and climate changes for the region, in 2007 the IDB launched a Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative to develop the region’s extraordinary potential as a source of renewable fuels and green energy solutions.
  • Priority areas for future IDB support include poverty reduction and social equity enhancement, economic reform and modernization of the state, which includes improving the business climate and competitiveness, regional integration, private sector growth, alternative energy and environmental protection. Education, small business and microenterprise, and science and technology are also key areas for development.
 

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