An IDB capital increase was early yesterday approved after a
marathon session at its annual meeting in Cancún
but the US, the banks largest shareholder, came under
fire for obstructing a deal until the last moment.
Delegates settled on raising $70 billion in callable capital
and $1.7 billion in paid-in capital. It was decided to write
off $479 million owed the institution by Haiti.
Capitalization, which increases the banks total capital
to more than $170 billion, will allow the IDB to approve $12
billion in loans annually to 2020.
Other agreements include a review after 30 months on the status
of the reform process that is underway as part of the
better bank initiative, and elimination of the 10%
cap on lending to the private sector.
While the increase allows the IDB to double annual approvals
from the average $6 billion in the past decade, the final
amount was $10 billion lower than the proposal mooted by the
chairman of the board of governors, Colombian finance minister
Oscar Zuluaga, when the meeting got underway.
The deal was still further from the $300 billion floated by the
blue-ribbon panel presented at last years IDB meeting,
and less than the $100 billion discussed at the finance
ministers meeting in Washington on March 2.
Governors had worked into the early hours to draft the
document. Brazilian and other officials complained that the US
was trying to force last-minute changes regarding environmental
issues and linking some IDB funding to other
A Brazilian official said: The US accepted to soften its
position, and not impose an external monitoring through an
environmental clause. This was a reference to a
requirement that US representatives on multilateral banks vote
against projects that do not put an environmental impact study
in place within four months, commonly referred to as the Pelosi
Dominican republic finance minister Vicente Bengoa said that
the delay in reaching consensus was not for economic
reasons, but because Latin America is not a
priority for the US, the IDBs largest shareholder.
Latin America is not on the US agenda. They are focused
on their health care legislation and other places, like
The US insisted on $60 billion and paid in capital of
$1.1 billion, which for them would have been $65 million a year
for five years. This was inconceivable. They finally
conceded.Argentinas finance minister Amado Boubou
told journalists that he was not happy with the $70 billion
capital increase, predicting that it would prove to be too
small. He said the process left a bitter taste,
because with just a little more effort they could have
increased the paid-in contribution to around $2.5
US assistant Treasury secretary Marisa Lago told reporters that
the agreement guarantees robust reform that would build
on the better bank initiative already underway.
Lago and IDB authorities focused primarily on how the
capitalization will benefit Haitis rebuilding
Sources in Cancun said the capitalization was a resounding
boost for IDB president Luis Morenos re-election bid.
Moreno staked his presidency on the approval of the plan.