Eloy Garcia, formerly of the IDB: A cool head in a crisis
Eloy Garcia spent 35 years at the Inter-American Development Bank, most recently as a treasurer, before retiring last year. Now a professor at Johns Hopkins University, he tells Sudip Roy of the enormous challenges the bank and the Latin American region have faced and the progress made.
"Maybe we won’t see
How has the bank changed over the years since you first joined and what was biggest change over that time? Garcia: My first job at the bank was as a loan administration officer for Chile, and that was the time of the Salvador Allende government, so I’ve seen a lot of changes. At that time Latin America was following the import substitution industrialization model, in which state-owned enterprises dominated. The bank was lending to the big public sector enterprises. We were involved in huge projects.
That changed gradually as the public sector shrank, influenced by the Reagan/Thatcher revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall and the onset of the market system. We were gradually crowded out of infrastructure projects because these were privatized. So we moved into what was called soft development, which is education, public health, reform of the state – that kind of thing. So that’s how we have changed.
If you ask me when that shift happened it was in the mid-1980s.