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Outgoing Chair of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Board of Governors, Ahmed Hussen, (right) officially handing over the chairmanship to Dr. Renata Vargas Amaral, Brazil’s Secretary for International Affairs and Development. (CDB Photo)

New CDB Chair outlines her priorities

June 25, 2024

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The newly elected chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Renata Vargas Amaral, says her priorities over the next year will be tackling climate change, deeper private sector engagement and enhancing multilateral development.

A statement issued by the bank said that Amaral was elected at its 54th annual board of governors meeting that was held in Canada last week and that the Brazilian Secretary for International Affairs and Development, laid out a “comprehensive vision” aimed at strengthening the CDB’s role and effectiveness.

The statement said that as Brazil also assumes the G20 Presidency, Dr. Amaral emphasised the country’s commitment to enhancing Multilateral Development Bank

“Our Presidency is committed to enhancing Multilateral Development Banks, aiming for them to become bigger, better, and more effective. The CDB has the potential to achieve these goals in the short term,” it quoted her as saying.

It said that highlighting key areas such as the G20 Capital Adequacy Framework Review Recommendations and balance sheet optimisation transactions, Amaral also underscored the importance of involving the private sector for sustainable growth.

“Among our initiatives for the next months and years, we need to bring the private sector together. In this sense, I encourage the strengthening of the relationship with the private sector for the sustainable growth of the region and the need for the bank to intensify its efforts to support private sector growth, lifting the private sector as a key partner for development,” she added.

The CDB chairman  for Brazil also pointed out the significant impact of climate change on the Caribbean, emphasising that individual countries cannot adequately address it alone.

“Multilateral institutions like the CDB are crucial in coordinating and funding solutions tailored to the Region’s needs. Therefore, the Bank has to be more responsive, and strengthening and developing the CDB’s capacity to answer extraordinary situations caused by climate change is not optional; it is a mandatory task for all of us.”

The statement said that Amaral replaced Canada’s Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussen, and that Brazil’s chairmanship “will culminate in June 2025 with the hosting of the 55th Annual Meeting in Brasilia”.

The statement gave no indication as to who would be replacing Dr. Gene Leon, who resigned as the CDB president earlier this year after he had been sent on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation.

The bank has never given any details regarding the investigation nor the reasons behind Leon being sent on administrative leave.

The St. Lucian-born economist has since threatened to file a lawsuit against the region’s premier financial institution.

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