Lost & Found: Comeback at the IDB

by Candace Port-Hull, Contributing Editor; World-Wide Projects, 3804 Underwood St., Chevy Chase, MD 20815,

Serial Information: Worldwide Projects, 1993, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Pg. 6-11

Document Type: Feature article


With the lost decade of the 1980s behind it, Latin America has emerged from its debt crisis as a project powerhouse. Fueling many of those projects is the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is expected to lend US$7 billion in 1993. The bank has grown more cautious in some ways, however, compared to the era when international money flowed into public works projects plagued by bureaucracy, corruption, mismanagement and soaring government deficits. Te IDB has put a new stress on social and environmental programs, on the private sector's role, and on partnerships with the World Bank and other lending institutions. Sweeping internal reforms in 1989-90 have produced a leaner management whose project decisions reflect a practical, sophisticated view of the Latin American and Caribbean markets. Lending for transportation and communications soared in 1992, with a particular emphasis on coordinating different modes of transportation and on satellite and fiber-optic communications. In energy, the IDB is stressing conservation, private involvement, and smaller rehabilitation and maintenance loans as opposed to the more traditional hydro and other large power projects. Lending to and taking equity stakes in the private sector, through the IDB's Inter-American Investment Corporation, is growing in importance, and the IDB's governors have proposed devoting 5-10 percent of lending to private infrastructure. Procurement has been reformed and is much more open to non-regional firms; a sidebar says there is a growing emphasis on practicality and reducing project paperwork.

Subject Headings: Project management | Private sector | Hydro power | Power plants | Fuels | Political factors | Government | Social factors | South America | Central America

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