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IADB takes a growing role in Latin America development

As the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) enters its third decade, the multiplier effect of bank lending is becoming clearer and more meaningful. Bank lending in 1980, according to the IADB's annual report, reached a record throughout Latin America which have an accumulated total cost of more than $9 billion.

By providing so much capital support for the past two decades, the bank has served as an important engine of development throughout the Western Hemisphere.

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Holding its annual meeting in Madrid this week, the bank disclosed April 6 that it has lent close to $18 billion in its first 20 years of operation, fueling projects costing more than $66 million.

The steady increase in lending represented by these totals results from growing bank resources, new members from outside the Western Hemisphere, and stepped-up repayment of loans.

The fact that the bank is no longer simply an organization of Western Hemisphere nations is illustrated by the bank's decision to hold its 20th annual meeting in Madrid -- the first time the bank has ever scheduled its annual conclave outside the Americas. There are now 43 members of the bank, nearly 20 outside the region, Portugal being the latest nonregional member.

A small but significant part of the bank's resources are now coming from Western European nations, which is a major factor in the 1980 increase of $8 billion in IADB's capital stock.

The $2.3 billion loaned in 1980 was not only a record, but also a 13 percent increase over 1979 lending. And bank officials will indicate at the Madrid meeting this week that the picture for 1981 looks much the same.

Repayment of loans by recipients is also an increasingly significant factor in the total bank operation. In 1980, for example, loan repayments totaled $482 million, a 32 percent increase over 1979. These repayments will increase in the years ahead as loans made early in the bank history are beginning to mature and requ ire repayment as grace periods run out.

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