Jamaica’s Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, has been elected by acclamation to chair the boards of governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) for the period 2022-2023.
The election was held during the IDB Group’s semi-virtual Boards of Governors Annual Meeting on Monday.
Clarke’s nomination was moved by Paraguay’s Finance Minister and IDB Country Governor, Oscar Llamosas, and seconded by Canada’s Temporary Alternate Governor, Andrew Horst.
Clarke is to succeed Colombia’s Finance Minister and IDB Country Governor, Jose Manuel Restrepo, who served for the 2021-2022 administrative year.
Llamosas said Clarke was elected based on “great leadership and ability to bolster finances in his country”.
He added, “We are sure that his vision, his commitment [and] his leadership will guide us in this process to renew and strengthen the IDB Group as the needs of our countries and region currently demand.”
Governor Horst, in endorsing the nomination, thanked Restrepo “for your work over the past year in steering us”.
Clarke, who also acknowledged Restrepo’s stewardship, expressed gratitude “for the confidence that my fellow governors have reposed in me to assume Chairmanship of the IDB Boards of Governors for this year.”
He lauded IDB President, Mauricio Claver-Carone, and the IDB team “for your tremendous work, particularly during the last two tumultuous years [of the coronavirus pandemic].”
“The region has benefited greatly from the agility and capacity of the IDB in responding to the unprecedented challenges,” said Clarke.
He further said Jamaica, which has been a member of the IDB since 1962, remains fully committed to being active and engaged in the organisation.
He noted that as Jamaica’s largest creditor, the IDB has played an integral role in supporting the country’s growth and development objectives.
“In particular, I thank the IDB for its tremendous support to Jamaica as we pursued an ambitious programme of economic reform over the past several years. As a result of these reforms, Jamaica has entrenched macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability, and we are better equipped to deal with unforeseen external shocks,” he asserted.
Clarke said Jamaica, like other tourism-dependent small island economies, was hard hit by the pandemic.
“However, our economy has since begun a robust recovery of jobs and economic activity. This is evidence of the value of building and maintaining buffers through sustainable fiscal and monetary policies while protecting the poor and vulnerable. This retains policy flexibility, which is useful in times of crisis,” he noted.
Clarke said Jamaica looks forward to deepening its partnership with the IDB Group as the country continues to recover and reform and “seek to position ourselves as an economy that is open and ready for private sector investments that can catalyse sustainable and inclusive growth, even as we pursue public investments geared towards human capital, social and infrastructure development.”
Claver-Carone, in welcoming Clarke’s election, said he anticipates working closely with the Jamaican minister in the months ahead.
The IDB president also praised Restrepo for his “excellent chairmanship” over the last year, adding: “I have always admired your passion and diligence, so thank you very much.”
The Boards of Governors of the IDB and the IIC hold their annual meeting in one of the bank’s member countries.
The official gathering is a forum for discussion among the institution’s governors, most of whom are ministers of finance, presidents of central banks, or other high-level officials of the member countries.