Colombia's Central Bank (Banco de la República) announced on 12 December 2016 that Juan José Echavarría Soto will take over as General Manager on 4 January 2017. Mr Echavarría is an engineer by trade who studied a Masters in Economics at Boston University and obtained his PhD in Economics at Oxford University. He brings a varied public and private sector experience, having held senior levels in the executive such as Vice Minister of Trade, or board member at the Central Bank (Noticias RCN). The main challenges facing the new General Manager will be controlling inflation - currently estimated at 5.5 percent for 2016 - while responding to calls from government officials and private sector to reduce the country's interest rate, which currently stands at 7.75 percent. Additionally, the country faces a slowing GDP growth and strong currency devaluation, coupled with lower than expected fiscal revenues because of the relatively low price of its petrol exports (El Nuevo Siglo).