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President Enrique V. Iglesias bids farewell to IDB board

Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique V. Iglesias bid farewell to the IDB’s Board of Executive Directors today with a plea for the continuation of the institution’s identity and relevance.

He also gave the board a summary of the Bank’s achievements during the 17 years in which he headed the institution, and outlined some of the main challenges of the future.

Iglesias recalled that when he first took office – to which he was elected four times by the Bank’s governors – his goals were to build a bigger, more innovative and more efficient institution that would be “more than a bank.”

Iglesias said he was optimistic about the future of the IDB and Latin America and the Caribbean because of the region’s potential, the current favorable circumstances and the pragmatism of its leadership.

The region’s hallmarks, he said, are its renewed emphasis on the role of the state, vigorous social activism and a growing participation in world markets, which requires greater competitiveness and defenses against exogenous crises.

At the same time, he said, the IDB should respond to changes in the needs of borrowing members that will require new kinds of assistance, especially with regard to middle income countries that need new instruments to wage war against poverty and inequality. The Bank also will need to address the growing needs of municipalities, states and provinces and other subnational entities, he added.

Iglesias invited the Board of Executive Directors to continue to work to strengthen the private sector, reform the state and promote the knowledge economy and research.

During his mandate the Bank’s activities on behalf of the private sector were strengthened and expanded with the establishment of the Inter-American Investment Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Fund and the Private Sector Department.

Recognizing the president’s achievements, the Board of Executive Directors named the IDB’s new conference center “Enrique V. Iglesias”.

Iglesias resigned on May 31 effective Sept. 30. Colombian diplomat Luis Alberto Moreno was elected as his successor on July 27 and will assume office on Oct. 1.