Ilan Goldfajn speaks at the forum Flexible Inflation Targeting at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings on April 18, 2018, in Washington. Photo: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg.
On Sunday, the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) board of governors elected Brazil’s Ilan Goldfajn as the president of the hemisphere’s premier financial institution. Goldfajn garnered 80 percent of the total vote, compared to 9.9 percent and 8.2 percent of the Chilean and Mexican candidates, respectively. He will take office on December 19. According to the Financial Times, Goldfajn said his top priorities would be to address poverty, inequality, food insecurity, climate change, and financial infrastructure. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen congratulated Goldfajn and urged him to “lead this organization to be an engine of change and progress for our neighbors across Latin America and the Caribbean.” However, others in the region have expressed concern over Goldfajn’s election. On Monday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the election result, stating that it showcased the persistence of “neoliberalism” and suggesting that the U.S. was working behind the scenes to ensure the result.
An Israel-born Brazilian, Goldfajn was nominated by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the position at the IDB. He has been the director of the Western Hemisphere department at the International Monetary Fund since January 2022. Prior to that role, Goldfajn served as the president of Brazil’s Central Bank from 2016 to 2019 and has experience in the private sector. He received his Ph.D. degree in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Before the IDB election, Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva proposed postponing the election to nominate his own candidate.