This week, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos appointed economist José Antonio Ocampo to the nation’s central bank board. Replacing César Vallejo, the respected economist will be one of the seven board members to vote during the next Banco de la Republica meeting in late March on whether to again adjust the country’s benchmark interest rate.
Ocampo, a Cali-born economist who studied at the University of Notre Dame and Yale University in the United States, joins the bank as the director of economic and political development at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) of Columbia University in New York. He is also the chairman of the development policy committee, which brings together experts from the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Previously, for the Colombian government, he served as the minister of finance and public credit, minister of agriculture and rural development, director of the National Planning Department (DNP), and chair of board of the Banco de la República. He has also he has served in various high-level roles for the International Monetary Fund, United Nations Development Program, Organization of the American States, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). He was also nominated to lead the World Bank in 2012 but later withdrew from consideration.
Ocampo has worked as a professor of economics at the University of the Andes in Bogotá and the professor of economic history at Colombia’s National University. In addition, he has also served as a visiting fellow at Yale University, University of Cambridge, and University of Oxford.
During his long, prestigious career, the new appointee has been honored with 2012 Jaume Vicens Vives Prize from the Spanish Association of Economic History for his book on Spanish and Latin American economic history, the 2008 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought, and the 1988 Alejandro Angel Escobar National Prize of Sciences of Colombia.
Photo credit: Presidencia de la República