(Bloomberg) -- Mexico unveiled Alicia Barcena as a candidate to lead the Inter-American Development Bank, the first government to publicly announce its intention to participate in the election to pick a new head after the top regional lender removed its president.
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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced the nomination of Barcena, the former chief of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, during his daily press briefing on Thursday. In June, Barcena had been named as Mexico’s ambassador to Chile.
Barcena is “an exceptional woman, very prepared, with very good relations with all governments,” AMLO, as the president is known said. “It’s a proposal in case they require a straight, professional, conciliatory person.”
With the nomination, Mexico pushes to get one of the most coveted jobs in Latin America’s finance. The IDB, as the Washington-based bank is known, last year loaned $23.5 billion, focusing on boosting the region’s economies and offering cheaper credit lines to projects from infrastructure to Covid-19 vaccines.
Hours after AMLO announced his candidate, Bolivia’s President Luis Arce said he would back her. “We know her capacity, integrity, track record and commitment to the progress of the region,” Arce said in a tweet on Thursday afternoon.
Mauricio Claver-Carone, who led the bank since 2020, was this week dismissed from the job after a probe into an alleged romantic relationship with a top aide found he probably violated ethics rules. Reina Irene Mejía Chacón is the bank’s acting chief until a new president is elected, with governments having 45 days to nominate candidates.
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Then-President Donald Trump’s pick of Claver-Carone, a White House aide, to lead the development bank opened a rift between the US and the region. He was the first US citizen to lead an institution traditionally presided over by a Latin American since its creation in 1959.
(Updates with comments from Bolivia’s president in fifth paragraph.)
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