Christian Asinelli: Argentina joins the fight for the presidency of the CAF | Economy

The Argentine candidate for the presidency of the CAF, Christian Asinelli, at the Casa Rosada after the interview with EL PAÍS, on June 18.
The Argentine candidate for the presidency of the CAF, Christian Asinelli, at the Casa Rosada after the interview with EL PAÍS, on June 18.Maria Eugenia Cerutti

Argentina wants the address of the Development Bank of Latin America, the expanded version of the Andean Development Corporation (CAF). The man chosen by the Casa Rosada is called Christian Gonzalo Asinelli (Buenos Aires, 45 years old), alternate representative of Argentina on the bank’s board of directors and with a position in the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs in Buenos Aires. The election will be held in Mexico on July 5. Asinelli will face Colombian Sergio Díaz-Granados, current executive director for Colombia before the IDB that day. The election will also mean the normalization of the board, in the hands of an interim since March, when the Peruvian Luis Carranza resigned due to accusations of workplace harassment.

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CAF was born in 1968 as a multilateral bank made up of Andean countries, but various extensions have gradually transformed it into a regional one. In 2002 and 2009, Spain and Portugal joined as shareholders, and gave CAF an Ibero-American profile. Today it is the second largest development bank in the region, after the IDB, with 19 shareholder countries, 14 non-Andean, and a loan and investment portfolio of 28,000 million dollars. If he manages to collect 10 votes, Argentine Asinelli will become the first president born in a country that is not part of the founding nucleus. “It’s a good time for that,” says Asinelli, sitting in a French-style armchair in one of the rooms of the Casa Rosada. “CAF is an institution that very generously opened membership to other countries, but until recently the presidents were Andean, as a matter of logic. Enrique Garcia [boliviano, predecesor del peruano Luis Carranza] He spent 25 years at the institution, he was the one that made it grow, he went from an institution that lent 200 million dollars to 15,000 million dollars, ”he says.

The Argentine candidate worked four years under Garcia’s wing. He assures that this allowed him to know first-hand the operation of the bank, an institution divided into twelve branches throughout the region. The central office is in Caracas, and Carranza’s decision to move it to Lima drew criticism from some partners. Asinelli assures that, if he wins, he will maintain the leadership in Venezuela. “The location remains in Caracas; to change it requires the agreement of all members. It is a debate that can take place, but today the headquarters are in Caracas ”, he assures.

Argentina in the past led the opposition in the IDB to the appointment as president of the American Mauricio Claver-Carone, candidate chosen by Donald Trump. The election of Claver-Carone broke the IDB tradition of reserving the address to a Latin American. CAF is the new diplomatic battle from Buenos Aires. Asinelli assures that he already has eight votes of the 10 he needs to proclaim himself president, including Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Trinidad and Tobago and Spain. Argentina has asked Peru to send its representatives with the mandate of the government to be elected in the last elections, a process that has been judicialized and remains undefined in Lima.

Unlike the IDB, in the CAF each country has one vote, regardless of the capital contributions it makes to the bank. Only the Andean countries have the privilege, which by forming the founding nucleus have a double vote. To win the presidency, Asinelli will only have to add the support of the Argentine partners in Mercosur: Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, something that the Casa Rosada does not consider impossible. “Mine is not an Argentine candidacy,” he clarifies, “I intend it to be an Ibero-American candidacy, which helps to generate the necessary consensus so that we reach the day of the election with all the countries at a level of agreement that allows CAF to give a qualitative leap ”, he says.

Asinelli promises to work for the capitalization of the bank, key to the greed for fresh money from the partners, a product of the pandemic. Any such decision requires, by regulation, the unanimous vote of the board of directors. That is why “consensus is key,” says Asinelli, and presents himself as the man capable of reaching those agreements. It also promises to end the corporate “stress” that led to the early departure of Luis Carranza. The election will be in two weeks. Argentina has until then to get the support it lacks.

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