| ASUNCION, April 2
ASUNCION, April 2 The United States,
historically a major backer of multilateral lending
institutions, will not renew its contribution to a
Inter-American Development Bank fund that supports pilot
development projects, the head of the Washington-based
organization said on Sunday.
In a news conference at the IDB's annual board of governors
meeting in Paraguay's capital, Asuncion, President Luis Alberto
Moreno linked the U.S. decision to a policy shift since
Republican President Donald Trump took office in January.
"On this occasion, the United States, for various domestic
reasons, did not want to participate," Moreno said. He added
that the U.S. delegation had indicated at an October 2016
meeting that it was willing to contribute, "but that it all
depended on the result of the election."
"Once President Trump's government began, they informed us
-at the beginning of February - that the United States would not
be making any contribution."
The IDB provides loans to governments and businesses to
finance projects ranging from large-scale infrastructure to
small businesses. Founded in 1959, it says it is the leading
source of development financing for Latin America, lending $11.3
billion and $13.8 billion in 2015 and 2014, respectively.
The Multilateral Investment Fund, or MIF, created in 1993,
was instrumental in the development of microfinance and provides
technical assistance to small projects aimed at providing
economic opportunity to the poor.
It was a brainchild of former U.S. President George H.W.
Bush, and the United States has historically been its largest
donor, the IDB said in a statement.
IDB member countries pledge to renew the fund's coffers
every several years. At the October meeting, the IDB governors
agreed to provide an additional $300 million to keep the fund
running from 2019 to 2023.
Last year marked the first time since the MIF's founding
that the United States did not contribute to its fund
replenishment, an IDB spokesman confirmed. It comes as Trump has
proposed slashing the U.S. foreign aid and diplomacy budget by
In the U.S. absence, Latin American and Caribbean countries
contributed 55 percent of the total $317 million added to the
MIF this year, while Japan pledged $85 million, the IDB said.
During the last replenishment in 2007, contributions from Latin
America and the Caribbean totaled 8 percent of funds.
A representative of the U.S. delegation said delegates were
under instruction not to comment.
U.S. talking points for "MIF Replenishment Discussions" seen
by Reuters and dated on Sunday, said the world's largest economy
applauded the increased contributions by Latin American
"While the United States will not be pledging additional
funding, we remain committed to the MIF and will continue to
play an active role on the Donors Committee," the talking points
(Additional reporting by Daniela Desantis; Editing by Peter