Colombian poised to clinch CAF presidency

Colombian poised to clinch CAF presidency

International Financial Institutions CAF People

Former Colombian trade minister Sergio Díaz-Granados is on the verge winning the top job at the South American development bank CAF as the institution's member countries gear up to vote on the candidates July 5, sources have told LatinFinance.

Díaz-Granados, Colombia's director at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), is understood to have already secured 11 votes of the 10 needed to be elected, rendering his candidacy all but assured. He is vying for the five-year term against Argentine candidate Christian Gonzalo Asinelli, undersecretary for international financial relations at Argentina's Secretariat for Strategic Affairs.

Of CAF's 19 member countries, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, representing more than 60% of bank's paid-in capital, are among those backing the Colombian. Asinelli, meanwhile, is understood to have six votes supporting his candidacy, with his native Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and Mexico all throwing their weight behind him.  

Member countries Spain and Trinidad and Tobago, whose votes are not expected to impact the outcome, are understood to be playing their cards close to their chests, although sources close to the discussions say that abstentions are likely from both.      

The election of Díaz-Granados to the presidency of the Caracas-based multilateral is expected to be welcomed by private sector observers, at a time when the role of private capital in bolstering the region's post-pandemic economies has taken center stage. 

The bank was thrown into turmoil following the sudden departure in March of the incumbent, Luiz Carranza, a former Peruvian finance minister, who was accused of abuse of power and other indiscretions.

His resignation took place against the backdrop of worsening public health and economic crises across the region, leaving the institution unable to effectively fulfill its mission at a critical moment for its countries of operation.

The bank provides roughly $14 billion a year in financing across the region, with an investment portfolio of roughly $28 billion and cumulative approvals of $188 billion since its founding in 1968. The development bank is owned by 19 countries, with Spain and Portugal the only non-regional members, as well as 13 commercial banks in the region.