IDB boosts aid; warns of complacency

WASHINGTON, United States, December 30, 2008 – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) increased loan, credit guarantee and grant approvals by about a quarter to a record US$12.2 billion this year, in an effort to help Latin America and the Caribbean weather the global financial crisis.

“IDB is striving to assist the region in these difficult times,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno as he gave his annual year-end assessment. “We are working with our member countries to defend the progress they made in recent years in the fight against poverty.”

Last year the IDB approved US$9.6 billion.

Mr Moreno assured that the Bank would continue to give its support, noting that in the short term, it would focus on supporting government programmes to protect the poor from the impact of the slowdown and continue to invest in longer term programmes that promote sustainable growth, reduce social inequality and strengthen public institutions.

But he warned the region against complacency.

“The IDB reaffirms its commitment to help the region face the effects of the recent financial market turbulence,” Mr Moreno said. “The region must resist to the temptation of relying too much in the successes of the past and it must be willing to work towards the achievement of the primary goals of promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty.”

In its 2009 outlook for the region, the IDB said that Latin American and Caribbean nations will continue to face an adverse external environment which will reduce foreign investment flows and the demand for raw materials.

The IDB President noted that growth in the region will slow to between two and 2.5 per cent in 2008, down from 4.5 per cent this year.