Who is Ilan Goldfajn, the Brazilian economist elected new president of the IDB

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With a technical profile, he has a long career in international organizations. However, he is an awkward figure for Brazil's president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Who is Ilan Goldfajn, the Brazilian economist elected new president of the IDB

Ilan Goldfajn in a photo from 2018, during his time as president of the Central Bank of Brazil. (EVARISTO SA/AFP)

An economist with a technical profile, with a long career in international institutions and who does not represent any ideology or political party . With this presentation, Ilan Goldfajn managed to convince him to be elected as the new president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

A presentation that does not convince everyone in Brazil, although he has assured in interviews and public events that he has the support of everyone in his country. The members of the Board of Governors of the IDB, made up of the ministers of Economy and economic authorities of the 48 countries that make up the institution, decided to trust him.

Proposed by Jair Bolsonaroa few days before the presidential elections (which he ended up losing), Goldfajn has not gotten a word of support from the elected Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

He did achieve the opposite, words of discouragement, in the mouth of former Brazilian minister Guido Mantega, who is part of Lula's transition process and described the candidacy as “another blow” given by Bolsonaro.

“I'm not saying he's a bad candidate, but Bolsonaro tried to pull off another coup, create a fait accompli and run for an IDB president the wrong way. They did not go to negotiate with Argentina, Peru, Colombia or Uruguay. They just pitched a candidate,” he noted.

Turning a deaf ear, Goldfajn was determined to continue defending his candidacy of him as an impartial figure . Three days after the start of the World Cup in Qatar, last Thursday he made a football analogy about his nomination at a public event.

Who is Ilan Goldfajn, the Brazilian economist elected new president of the IDB

Goldfajn during an interview in 2019 (REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino/archive)

When a World Cup comes around, the coach “decides who the players (of the national team) are” and “99% of people understand that those are the players, but there is always 1% who say: Well, I want my player of my team. But I can assure you that when the World Cup begins, all Brazilians will support their team”, he pointed out.

THE NON-FRIEND OF THE PT

Born in Haifa (Israel) in March 1966 (56 years old) but nationalized Brazilianand raised in Rio de Janeiro, he has extensive experience in the banking sector, both public and private, as he was chief economist and partner at Itaú, the largest private bank in Latin America.< /p>

In the private sector, he also had experience, both as an economist and as a partner, in entities such as Credit Suisse Brasil, Ciano Investimentos and Gávea Investimentos.

He served as president of the Brazilian Central Bank between 2016 and 2019 after being nominated for the position by the then president, Michel Temer, who came to power after the dismissal of Dilma Rousseff.

At this stage, he earned the animosity of the Workers Party (PT) of the president-elect, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who labeled all members of the Temer administration a “coupist”.

Who is Ilan Goldfajn, the Brazilian economist elected new IDB president

Goldfajn has not gotten a word of support from president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. (REUTERS/Rodrigo Antunes)

At the Central Bank, Goldfajn was characterized by his zeal in controlling inflation and in complying with the ceiling on public spending.< /p>

Promoted one of the biggest interest rate cuts in the history of Brazil, going from 14.25% to 6.5% at the end of his term, while it was possible to maintain relative stability in the exchange market.

The economist already had experience in the Central Bank, of which he was director of Economic Policy between 2000 and 2003.

Before the Brazilian government nominated him for the presidency of the IDB, Goldfjan served as director of the Department for the Western Hemisphere of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Goldfajn trained as an economist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and has a master's degree from the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) in the same city and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT).

THE MOST URGENT CHALLENGES

In a recent interview with EFE, Goldfajn said that if it were chosen was to put among his prioritiess to work in a “transparent” wayand with continuous accountability.

In his opinion, “the IDB has to once again be the most important institution in Latin America by far”, not only because of the amount of resources but also because of their “leadership”.

You have to decide “where we are going, what the region is doing, where we are in the global economy, we have to have a vision and an institution that leads it”, he pointed out.

All in a context in which the global situation, first the pandemic < /b>and then the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have affected Latin America, a region where poverty has once again increased and where the climate crisis continues to hit the poorest.

And also in a complicated internal context after the departure from the bank of the American of Cuban origin, Mauricio Claver-Carone, expelled after allegedly having an affair with a subordinate.

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