From Intern to Policy Maker: Soto Rejoins Colombian Central Bank

(Bloomberg) -- Twenty-four years after starting her career as an intern at Colombia’s central bank, Carolina Soto is rejoining the bank as a policy maker, replacing the outgoing Adolfo Meisel.

Soto, 45, is also a former deputy finance minister and has worked as economic adviser to President Juan Manuel Santos since 2015, who announced the appointment in a speech on Thursday. She studied at Bogota’s University of the Andes and at Columbia University in the U.S.

Soto has said the economy can grow as fast as 4 percent without overheating, faster than the 3.3 percent to 3.5 percent estimated by central bank Governor Juan Jose Echavarria. In a June 25 interview at the presidential palace, she predicted that the economy will expand 2.7 percent to 3 percent this year, and about 3.5 percent in 2019, which would indicate limited inflationary pressures.

The bank, with its large, well-funded research department, should be less diffident about weighing in on matters of public policy, especially those such as tariffs and regulated prices which are connected with its core mandate of keeping consumer prices under control, she said.

The bank “can fulfill a role of a authorized, independent, technical voice, given the quality and capacity of the resources at its disposal,” she said.

Meisel left the board at the end of June to become Rector of the University of the North in Barranquilla.

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