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Cecilia Todesca: Argentina nominates Cecilia Todesca and joins the race for the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank

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Argentina’s candidate for the presidency of the IDB, Cecilia Todesca, photographed in August 2020 in Buenos Aires.Irina Sanchez (EFE/Headquarters of the Cabinet of Ministers)

Argentina has joined the race for the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the most important multilateral credit organization in the continent. On the verge of the term to present candidates, the Government of Alberto Fernández noted down the current Secretary of Economic Relations of the Foreign Ministry, Cecilia Todesca, an economist who is part of his circle of power. The news came from Paris, where Fernández is with Todesca on tour, on a stopover prior to the delegation that will participate in the G20 summit next week to be held in Bali, Indonesia. In any case, it was a great surprise. Until now, only Mexico, Chile and Brazil had confirmed candidates and Argentina had not advanced any intention to compete. Now begins a long negotiation to elect by consensus the person who will replace at the IDB Mauricio Claver-Carone, dismissed at the end of September for his relationship with an employee.

Cecilia Todesca was born in Buenos Aires 51 years ago. She is an economist from the University of Buenos Aires and has postgraduate studies at Columbia University. She is from a Peronist family and today is a member of “albertismo”, as the small group of high-ranking officials who are still faithful to Alberto Fernández in the fight he has with his vice, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. His name once sounded like a possible Minister of Economy. Her only experience before international organizations was during the presidency of Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007), when she held the Argentine chair at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She also had a stint at the Sovereign Risk Analysis Department of the risk rating agency Standard & Poor’s. In the Casa Rosada they consider that being a woman adds points to her candidacy, in addition to the fact that Argentina never had the direction of the bank, despite being one of its main contributors.

The Argentine candidacy is evidence of the lack of agreement to find a consensus name with Brazil and Mexico. The candidacy of Ian Goldfajn, former president of the Central Bank of Brazil and current director for the Western Hemisphere of the IMF, is the stone in the shoe of the agreement. Goldfajn is the man who chose Jair Bolsonaro as his candidate at the end of his term. If the next president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, gives him his support, he is practically guaranteed the election. The problem is that since Lula has not given any indication in this regard, the competition remains open. The Mexican case has also added noise to the process.

The president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, had nominated Alicia Bárcena, former director of ECLAC, but this week proposed to the Governor of the Central Bank Gerardo Esquivel. Chile also joined this Thursday, with the candidacy of Nicolás Eyzaguirre, former Minister of Economy and Education and Minister General of the Presidency during the administration of Presidents Ricardo Lagos and Michelle Bachelet.

In the Argentine government, they assure that they will work for a figure of consensus in the event that Lula da Silva withdraws his support for the man chosen by Bolsonaro. The challenge is to obtain the consent of the United States, the main contributor to the IDB, with 30% of the capital. The government of Joe Biden was key to the fall of Mauricio Claver-Carone, who He had reached the presidency of the multilateral bank at the hands of Donald Trump. His appointment generated a political crisis in the region, because he broke with the tradition that assigned the IDB chair to Latin America. Claver-Carone left through the back door in September, after it was found that he had benefited from salary increases to an employee with whom he had a relationship. Washington did nothing to save him.

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