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  1. 1. Our World Wednesday, July 20, 2011 COLOMBIA Working hand in hand towards a new era This supplement to USA TODAY was produced by United World Ltd.: Suite 179, 34 Buckingham Palace Road - London SW1W 0RH - Tel: 44 20 7409 3106 - - INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS President Santos steps up foreign relations drive Colombia’s President is engaged in global efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and is also working with other nations to improve multinational understanding in the region Perhaps one of the most im- portant aspects in which President Santos has distin- guished himself from the out- set has been in Colombia’s foreign relations. Upon his election, analystsPresidents Santos and Obama met in April 2011 to discuss cooperation between the two nations in security, economic and social issues predicted the new President would work to increase olombia and the try than the one his predeces- fered from his predecessor’s in which has been globally ap- a regional leader, but a global Colombia’s influence in theC United States have built a strong, long- standing relation- ship based uponrespect, cooperation, and com-mon goals. Some of the valuesboth countries share are sor Alvaro Uribe had inherited in 2002. Colombia’s transfor- mation over the past decade has been extraordinary, and where former president Uribe was faced with the task of regaining control of conflict-torn territo- several ways. Restoring relations with Venezuela and Ecuador, the new President has depolarized divisions within the country that marked Mr. Uribe’s presi- dency. He has also turned his plauded. In May this year, Congress approved the new anti-cor- ruption law, hailed by Presi- dent Santos as the most ambitious ever seen in Colom- bian Congress. Prohibiting the trendsetter to watch. President Santos has also made moves to ensure a more equitable distribution of the country’s mineral and hydro- carbon wealth through his ‘Prosperity for All’ national de- region and place a greater emphasis on regional inte- gration. Many believe that President Santos could ful- fill the vacancy in Latin American leadership left by former Brazilian presidentdemocracy, individual freedom ry, President Santos presides attention to judicial reform, and state from contracting politi- velopment program, while Lula da Silva.and freedom of the press, the over one of Latin America’s most launched a corruption probe cal campaign contributors working to guarantee best prac- Indeed, since taking officerule of law, economic prosper- successful and prosperous into the national anti-drug traf- while the supported candidate tice and the protection of human less than a year ago, theity, and the expansion of op- economies, and a regional leader ficking agency. is in office, the law aims to close rights. The President’s economic Colombian President has re-portunities for all. Now is time in peace, justice and security. He has worked to amplify the revolving door between platform is focused on the sus- stored ruptured diplomaticfor the next step. While continuing with Mr. the agenda with the U.S. be- public and private sectors. tainable development of five relations with Venezuela and When Juan Manuel Santos Uribe’s pro-market economic yond the free trade agreement, Through this anti-corruption economic engines: agriculture, Ecuador, acted as a media-Calderon was elected President platform and democratic secu- and has initiated important initiative, coupled with others infrastructure, housing, inno- tor in securing Honduras’ re-in August 2010, he took over rity policies, President Santos’ new legislation, such as the Vic- in matters of security, Colom- vation and energy, and targets turn to the Organization ofthe reins of a very different coun- path since taking office has dif- tims’ and Land Restitution Law, bia has proven to be not only annual GDP growth of 5%. American States, and pushed for greater international in- volvement in the recon-Ready for business and new open doors with U.S. struction of Haiti in the United Nations (Colombia was elected last October asHuman rights, democracy, energy, technology, and social and economic development are listed in the new agenda between the U.S. and Colombia a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council After more than a decade of ence and technology. Colom- for the 2011-2012 term). ‘TODAY, Plan Colombia – the country’s bian ambassador to the U.S. COLOMBIA IS successful strategy to combat Gabriel Silva Lujan says, “Safe- A COUNTRY drug terrorism in collabora- ty and security are still of great A UNITED WORLD THAT HAS THE tion with the U.S. – Colombia relevance but now we are look- SUPPLEMENT CAPACITY is ready for a new era in its re- ing to expand into a meaning- PRODUCED BY: AND THE lations with its northern ally ful and substantive bilateral Gemma Gutierrez, EXPERIENCE and largest trading partner. agenda.” Alvaro Buenaventura, TO In September 2010, Presi- This new agenda will even Carlos Rodriguez-Villa, COLLABORATE dent Santos met with President move beyond the free trade Irama Vega, Alberto IN REGIONAL Mariscal, and Saturnino Obama to discuss a wider agen- agreement between the two AND GLOBAL Izquierdo da between the two countries countries, which is awaiting ap- ISSUES’ that moves beyond security is- proval from the U.S. Congress. sues to include democracy and “Today, Colombia is a grow- A more extensive version of human rights, energy, envi- ing, stable and safe country, this report is available at GABRIEL SILVA LUJAN, ronment and climate change, and one that is highly impor- http://unitedworld. Ambassador of economic opportunities, cul- tant for companies in the U.S.,” Colombia to the U.S. ture and education, and sci- says the ambassador. Our World Insert is produced by United World. USA TODAY did not participate in its preparation and is not responsible for its content
  2. 2. Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Distributed by USA TODAY 2 COLOMBIAA country dedicated to human rightsIn Juan Manuel Santos’ 2010 presidential inaugural speech he promised to pass a land restitution law to return stolen lands and to help the victims of violence President Santos appointed One important area is chang- To provide even more cer- German Vargas Lleras as his ing the law which governs the tainty, the government has Interior and Justice Minister distribution of royalties gen- proposed a change to the to oversee the enactment and erated by extracting the coun- Constitution that will end the implementation of a key piece try’s mineral wealth. The new possibility of retroactive sen- of legislation, which the min- legislation will divide the tences regarding taxation and ister has described as “the country into six regions and on penal matters. There is al- most ambitious human rights ensure that each one receives so a plan to strengthen arbi- project in Colombia and an royalties from the minerals tration as a means of solving example to the world”. taken from within its borders. legal conflicts, which will pro- The country’s Senate ap- Transparency in govern- vide a faster alternative to the proved the Victims and Land ment and in the justice sys- courts. Restitution Law in May this tem is another project for the “President Santos is setting year. The legislation will pro- ministry. The goal is to provide an example of democracy, vide reparations to the vic- citizens, companies and in- unity, of a new Colombia tims of violence during the vestors with a level playing where his main focus is not on conflict among the govern- field, and to fight the scourge solving the past problems, but ment, guerrillas and drug traf- of corruption. The new rules on looking straight ahead,” fickers, and return stolen land will prevent businesses or peo- says Horacio Velez de Bed- to people forced off their ple who have been involved out, president of telecom- property. with past corrupt practices, munications company UNE. President Santos and Mr. for example, from getting “I don’t think we need to re- Vargas Lleras are working more work with the govern- turn to gain momentum, theGERMAN VARGAS LLERAS, Minister of Interior and Justice hard on other reforms as well. ment. momentum is in ourselves.”Big reduction in violence has put economyback on the foreign investment mapTerrorist acts are down fund its efforts, sparking further President Juan Manuel San- curity, and from President San- tract investments from abroad. investment, Uribe created trust,84% from 2002. violence and forcing the gov- tos has continued most of the el- tos’ focus on promoting the “Mr. Uribe turned the coun- and the will to invest and believeHomicides and ernment to develop a much ements of Plan Colombia put in country’s economy, have man- try around 180 degrees,” says in the country.”kidnappings have stronger response to the FARC place by his predecessor, Alvaro aged to change the business Pedro Miguel Estrada, presi- The military is also doing itsdropped 45% and 88%, and other groups. Uribe. The gains from Mr. community’s opinion of the dent of Compañia de Em- part to help the economy. Therespectively, from 2002 The Plan Colombia was de- Uribe’s policy of democratic se- country, and are helping to at- paques. “In regards to foreign Defense Ministry has organizedthrough 2009, marking veloped by the Colombian and the companies it owns, whichthe lowest rates in 22 U.S. governments to help train provide logistic, social and se-years. The Plan Colombia and equip the South Ameri- curity services to the armedis proving effective and can country’s police and armed forces, into the Social and Busi-the result is higher forces for the fight against the ness Defense Group (GSED).confidence at home and armed groups. The plan has The GSED, which overseesabroad been a great success, cutting 18 different companies, is tasked the murder rate from 77.5 per with contributing “in an efficientDuring the 1970s and 1980s, 1,000 inhabitants in 1999 to 34 and measurable way” to peaceColombia became famous as a per 100,000 in 2010. and public safety in Colombia bysource of cocaine and as a “The Plan Colombia has al- supplying the armed forces withcountry scourged by political lowed us to gain military and needed goods and services. Theviolence. The country, whose police capacities that we did- emphasis at the group is on in-biggest legal exports are oil, n’t have before,” says Rodrigo creasing efficiency and produc-coffee and coal, was embroiled Rivera Salazar, Colombia’s De- tivity, to better help the military,in a guerrilla war against sev- fense Minister. “These capac- security apparatus, and ulti-eral different armed groups that ities have been fundamental mately, Colombian citizens.sought to overthrow the gov- to our success against drug traf- “Colombians have becomeernment. ficking, terrorism and illegal increasingly demanding, they The biggest insurgent group, drug cultivation. It’s not a plan are demanding more and morethe Revolutionary Armed that was conceived to last in- results, better actions,” says Mr.Forces of Colombia, or FARC definitely, but rather with the Rivera Salazar. “This representsin its Spanish initials, in the goal of improving Colombian a major cultural change because1990s began to move into drug capacities, and that goal has it guarantees the continuity oftrafficking and production to been achieved.” While serving as Defense Minister, President Santos gained popularity for his successful fight against FARC this policy.”Colombia’s reinvention has Stock market named ‘the bestled to great economic growth in the world’Ricardo Triana of the “Two major factors have vestors,’ where it was ranked Between 2001 and 2007, the Colombian Stock Exchange grew fourteen-fold, and itCouncil of American contributed to the financial fifth overall. has embarked on a project that unites the Peruvian, Chilean and Colombian marketsEnterprises points out that health of Colombia: a strong- “I’d encourage all Americaneconomic stability has ly anti-cyclical monetary pol- companies to come and invest This has been a good year for rise about 22% this year to 17,500 ket and is the second biggestdefined and distinguished icy and a sound financial because there are opportuni- the Colombian Stock Exchange, points, Morgan Stanley said. exchange in Latin America,Colombia amidst the system thanks to the lesson ties in Colombia in nearly every or BVC in its Spanish initials. The exchange also added after Brazil, in terms of com-global economic crisis learned in the crisis of the late field,” says Juan Pablo Jimeno, The steady rise of its bench- seven new foreign companies bined market capitalization 90s,” says Jose Dario Uribe, country manager at CB&I mark index, spurred by robust to its Global Colombian Mar- of the companies listed.The global crisis that shook manager of the central bank, Colombia, one of the world’s economic growth and demand ket, where the total number of The bigger market will pro-many of the world’s biggest or Banco de la Republica de leading engineering, procure- for good investment opportu- international shares listed rose vide many advantages for com-economies in 2007 and Colombia. ment and construction firms. nities, prompted Morgan Stan- to 28 and now includes global panies that list their shares2008 had less of an effect That situation has made Colombia’s gross domestic ley in April to call it ‘the best giants such as McDonald’s, In- there, explains Jose Darioon Colombia, which had Colombia an ideal place for product has had solid growth stock market in the world.’ tel, AT&T and Microsoft. Uribe, manager of the Bancolearned its lesson earlier, dur- investors seeking opportuni- in recent years, as have its The BVC rose an annual av- The BVC is now part of a de la Republica de Colombia,ing a crisis in the 1990s. The ties. The country was ranked banks, making the financial erage of 35% over the past 10 new stock exchange that the country’s central’s financial system is 39th in the World Bank’s 2011 sector an area with strong po- years, the best such record in unites the Colombian, Peru- “The integration of the stockwell regulated and stayed edition of its Doing Business tential for outside investors. the world, followed by the Pe- vian and Chilean bourses, pro- exchange with Chile and Perustrong during the recent diffi- survey, which ranks 183 coun- One indicator of the country’s ruvian market which rose 24% viding a larger pool where will open great opportunitiesculties, and the central bank tries based on a series of financial stability is that Stan- per year over the same period, business can seek capital. for investment in the threeused a steady hand when it set criteria. The area where dard & Poor’s raised Colombia’s according to analysts at the U.S. Launched on May 30, the new countries and will increaseinterest rate policy to help con- Colombia ranked highest in credit rating to investment investment bank. The BVC’s exchange is called the Inte- business competitiveness introl growth. the survey was ‘protecting in- grade earlier this year. benchmark index will probably grated Latin American Mar- the region,” he says. Our World Insert is produced by United World. USA TODAY did not participate in its preparation and is not responsible for its content
  3. 3. Distributed by USA TODAY Wednesday, July 20, 2011 COLOMBIA 3Booming banks ready to take on worldColombia’s financial solidity since the beginning of the millennium has positioned it well to play a more important role nationally as well as internationally strong fundamentals and million this year. The group leader in credit card operations macroeconomic stability. looks to expand through fur- having 1.6 million of the 8 mil- Colombia’s bid has also re- ther bank acquisitions and is in lion in Colombia. Just like Grupo ceived a vote of confidence from the process of starting to sell its Aval, Davivienda has opened a the U.S. shares in the NYSE. branch in Miami, focusing on “I am very impressed that the Bancolombia, the second international trade. Among its Santos administration has adopt- largest banking group, is expe- growing global success, the com- ed this as a goal,” says U.S. Sec- riencing enormous success on pany is also famed for its un- retary of State Hillary Clinton, a global scale with its policy since beatable working conditions: who visited the OECD head- 2006 of universal banking, ex- Davivienda president, Efrain quarters in Paris in June and panding their investment por- Forero, was awarded the prize highlighted her support for folio. When Bancolombia of best employer in 2010. Colombia’s admission to the started selling their bonds, they Although growth is important international entity. “The U.S. received 235 investors from Eu- for the banks on an internation- wants to support this impressive rope, North America and Latin al scale they also are committed investment in the Colombian America totaling $2.7 billion and to giving back to Colombia. An people and to look for how we making them one of the most example is Grupo Aval’s foun- can reach out to all Colombians.” important Colombian players dation Colfuturo, which helps The economic development in the global market. send 1,000 students overseas in the country in part is related Of these three most impor- every year with scholarships for to the strict banking regulations tant economic players, Da- Masters and PhD already in place, but also the con- vivienda, a member of Gru- programs. trol of the growing influence of po Bolivar, is the the three main Colombian banks. Grupo Aval, consisting of Bogota, Occident, Popular Colombia’s and AV Villas banks, has financial systemWhile many of the world’s bank- Mr. Sarmiento (who is the son with good practices.” The OECD, assets valued around $32 has showning sectors are struggling to re- of Colombia’s wealthiest man an international organization billion. Its recent purchase annual growthcover from the global economic and 135th in the world, Luis Car- that works to promote respon- of BAC- Credomatic, a of 19.04%crisis, Colombian banks are los Sarmiento Angulo) went on sible economic policies, is com- company in the Britishthriving in both the local mar- to say that Colombians have prised of 34 countries, primarily Virgin Islands, for $1.9ket and more recently, the in- learned that they need to main- economically advanced nations. billion will give the com-ternational market, even making tain control of the system and President Santos assures that pany more prevalencea recent bid to join the Organi- become international while still OECD membership will be a throughout Southzation for Economic Coopera- being managed by Colombians. very important qualitative jump and Central Americation and Development (OECD). Unlike Mexico and Peru, who in the country’s ongoing devel- and is expected to The South American country have not maintained local con- opment and a way to move into make a profit of $200learned a valuable lesson about trol, the three largest banking the international scene. “We doits financial sector during the groups in Colombia, Grupo Aval, not want to compare ourselves1998 national economic crisis, Bancolombia and Davivienda, only to Latin America, we wantwhich the rest of the world is who control more than 60% of to compare ourselves with thediscovering now: there needs to all banking operations, are all in world. We have the potential andbe more regulation and trans- the hands of Colombians. we have the means to emergeparency. As a result of the solidity in not only in Latin America, where “As a result of the crisis better Colombia today, the financial we are already emerging, but al-legislation and regulations were system’s assets totaled $666.58 so in the world.”created,” explains Luis Carlos billion, meaning a quarterly OECD member countriesSarmiento Gutierrez, the presi- growth of 4.19% and an annual are seen as solid economiesdent of Grupo Aval, the largest growth of 19.04%. The Colom- and more attractive to in-Colombian bank controlling bian banks’ success and stabili- vestors. According to Michaelaround 30% of the country’s fi- ty on a local level positions them Shifter, president of the Inter-nancial assets. “As far as banks to move into the international American Dialogue, thewere concerned, they stopped sphere. OECD is a privileged club.being so naïve. New rules for Moves for economic expan- “Membership is a measure ofloans appeared.” sion are seen both on a private a certain level of economic de- and public level, as a result of velopment and a commitment A more extensive version of the growing economy. The to sound policies and good- this report is available at Colombian government put in governance practices,” he says, http://unitedworld.usatoday. a bid in January to join the pointing to Colombia’s quali- OECD, which Colombian Pres- fications for membership in- com/ourworld.htm ident Santos refers to as “a club cluding a banking sector with Our World Insert is produced by United World. USA TODAY did not participate in its preparation and is not responsible for its content
  4. 4. Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Distributed by USA TODAY 4 COLOMBIAAmbitious infrastructure plans openup opportunities for the private sectorThe government is planning major investments in various rail, road, air and port infrastructure projects that are needed to keep the country’s economic growth on the movePresident Juan Manuel Santos government has ambitioushas ambitious plans for his coun- plans in that area as well. Abouttry’s economic growth, and he 2 billion pesos will be spent overand his team have identified the the next four years to improvefive main ‘locomotives’ that will access to ports, and the gov-drive expansion. The sectors ernment hopes to increase theirwhere the government wants to capacity by 30% annually by fo-attract and focus investment are cusing on building a few mega-infrastructure, agriculture, en- ports, rather than many smallerergy, housing and innovation. ones. Colombia’s economy has Finding financing for majormanaged to grow steadily over infrastructure projects can bethe years, even during the worst a challenge, and the govern-times of political and drug-fu- ment is working to make theeled violence, and now that the process easier. It announcedarmed groups have been re- last year that the developmentduced to nuisances in most re- financing agency, known asgions, the country is ready to Findeter, will be converted in-advance and make the kind of to the National Infrastructureprogress that will improve the Bank, or BNI, to improve accesslives of millions. to funding. Colombia needs investment Findeter lent more than 7 bil-in transport infrastructure to lion pesos from 2007 throughhelp economic growth contin- 2010, including 1.8 billion pe-ue. Cargo exports have in- sos for housing, 1 billion pesoscreased more than 35% in the for healthcare infrastructure,past five years, while the coun- 759 million pesos for educationtry’s geographic location, with facilities and 221 million pesosPacific and Atlantic coasts, give for tourism great potential to be a trans- The Colombian government is issuing more than $562 million in tenders for road and rail projects The government has the fi-shipment hub in the region. nancial muscle to finance a big The Transport Ministry ex- projects to improve the flow of using Colombian airports near- ducer of bulky products such lantic coasts to provide an al- part of its ambitious infra-pects investments of more than goods and people around and ly doubled, from 8 million to as coffee and bananas, and heavy ternative to the Panama Canal. structure investment plans, but$45 billion on transportation into and out of the country. 15.6 million, between 1991 and materials including coal and Another project would expand it also welcomes the participa-infrastructure throughout the Colombia’s airports will be the 2009. Air traffic is expected to nickel, rail and road transport the capacity of a rail line used tion of the private sector, whichcountry over the next 10 years, focus of one area of the Min- continue to grow by about 5% are also vital to the smooth func- to ship coal to the Atlantic can participate in big projectsand has plans to attract private istry’s plans, with the goal of a year, according to Aerocivil, tioning of the economy. coast, a key to boosting exports and help build the transporta-companies both in Colombia providing the country with Colombia’s civil aviation agency, The government is in the of high-quality thermal coal. tion system Colombia needsand from abroad to provide modern passenger and cargo which plans major investments process of issuing more than 1 The plans for roads and high- for future economic growth.more than 30% of the targeted facilities by the end of 2015. to improve air traffic control trillion pesos ($562 million) of ways through 2014 will focus “Our doors are open toinvestment. One group of projects, for and other parts of the country’s tenders for projects, most of on four corridors, and will build multinational companies in or- “We are inviting all investors example, will grant a 20-year aeronautic infrastructure. them in the roads sector, while or improve about 3,045 miles der for them to come and seein the world to come and think operating concession for the “We want the aviation sec- tenders for building the Carare of roads for about 9.85 billion the great opportunities in in-of great works because we want airports in the cities of Santa tor to be the mainstay of the ‘lo- rail line and improving the Cen- pesos. The projects include the frastructure, in both rail andto have a lot of private equity, Marta, Cucuta, Bucaramanga, comotive’ of infrastructure,” tral rail system will be issued construction of bridges and ports systems, airports andand we are promoting it with- Barrancabermeja, Valledupar says Santiago Castro, Aerociv- later this year. In total the gov- tunnels, widening of existing road concessions that will helpin and outside the country,” says and Riohacha in return for in- il’s director. ernment hopes to build 785 roads and the building of new make our country more com-German Cardona, Colombia’s vestments of about $55 mil- In a country the size of miles of new rail. highways. petitive and our economy moreMinister of Transport. lion to improve various areas Colombia, air transport is very Chinese builders are mulling The new roads and railways efficient,” says Juan Miguel Du- The Ministry is planning to of their infrastructure. important for moving people a project to build a rail line link- will increase the flow of goods ran, Ports and Transport Su-invest in road, rail, air and port The number of passengers and goods around, but as a pro- ing Colombia’s Pacific and At- to Colombia’s ports, and the perintendent.Natural resource wealth countedin the billionsFrom hydroelectric potential through minerals and petroleum, Colombia’s bounty of resources is a huge magnet to foreign investorsThe expression ‘an embarrass- of growth, and is acting ac- new and much bigger potential about 70% of the country’s elec-ment of riches’ can easily be cordingly. Colombia welcomes market to tap. tricity comes from hydroelec-applied to Colombia’s mineral foreign investment in these sec- The emerald mining indus- tric sources, and Colombia’swealth. The country possesses tors, and especially hopes to at- try is ripe for investment, with many rivers give it the poten-the largest coal reserves in Latin tract more money to its oil recent studies indicating that tial to increase production be-America, is the world’s biggest industry, which has the poten- only 7% of potential deposits in yond its domestic needs.producer of emeralds, and has tial to grow quickly. the Boyaca region have been Hydroelectric and othersignificant amounts of gold and “There have been very im- mined. Boyaca is the source of forms of renewable energy arenickel. Colombia also produces portant signals that the Colom- some of the highest-quality clearly the future for the in-copper, iron ore and bauxite, the bian government understands emeralds mined today, but its dustry, and Colombia boastsmain source of aluminum. that under private sector de- mines need investment to seek abundant conditions to gener- As if that weren’t enough, velopment, the oil sector will out deeper and deeper deposits. ate electricity from the windColombia also has the second- experience very significant Gold is another industry and the sun. Focusing on thosebiggest hydroelectric potential growth,” says Carlos Arturo where new financing could sources would also help pro-in South America, after Brazil, Espinosa, general manager of greatly boost output. Colombia tect the environment, anotherand proven oil reserves of about Thorneloe Energy Colombia, a already has the most proven one of the government’s goals.2 billion barrels. That figure privately owned oil exploration gold reserves in South Ameri- “The great challenge that thecould rise by as much as 6 bil- and production company. ca, and many promising areas country faces is to promote thelion barrels by 2020, if explo- The most obvious signal that have barely been explored. Pro- mining sector with environ-ration continues at the current the government wants to at- duction is mostly small-scale, mental responsibility, and topace, according to officials at tract foreign investment was a but new discoveries and better achieve that balance there mustEcopetrol, Colombia’s state-con- change to the legal code in Jan- security have allowed rapid in- be a midpoint between socialtrolled oil company. uary of this year, which opens creases in output. development and environmen- President Juan Manuel San- up foreigners’ access to the stock Colombia also has great po- tal preservation,” says Cesar E.tos wants energy and mining to market and gives Colombian tential as an exporter of hy- Díaz, executive director of the Colombia boasts the biggest coal reserves in the continent, as well as generousbe one of the five ‘locomotives’ companies seeking financing a droelectric energy. Already Colombian Mining Chamber. quantities of nickel, gold, iron ore, copper and bauxite “Innovative” social housing plans to raise quality of life The construction sector, one of the main drivers of the country’s economic expansion, is getting a further boost with the government’s drive to create more social housing President Juan Manuel Santos op the water supply, sanitation, former president of Camacol. has announced various differ- drainage and energy infra- “The impetus that the govern- ent plans to spur economic structure that accompanies ment is giving to the ‘locomotive’ growth and improve the stan- new home construction, make of housing shows a positive out- dard of living of his country- government land management look for these projects.” men. None are more important more efficient and build up the The government is encour- than the housing program, management capacity of the aging private-sector involve- which will provide the poorest construction sector. ment in the construction Colombians with what they Construction is currently program, which will build four need most, homes and work. one of the main drivers of eco- to six macro projects in cities “This is an ambitious pro- nomic expansion in Colom- around the country. The ini- ject not only socially, but also bia, and the forecast by the tiative recently gained the im- economically, as the figures Colombian Chamber of Com- portant support of the World show that construction is the merce for Construction, or Ca- Bank, which approved a $40 most dynamic sector in em- macol, is for growth of 4% in million loan to help finance it. ployment generation,” says the sector this year. The gov- The World Bank’s regional di- Beatriz Uribe, Minister of ernment’s investment in the rector, Gloria Grandolini, Housing, Environment and housing sector is an important praised the “innovative” plan Territorial Development. factor. and pledged to continue to The government housing “Social interest housing is gain- support housing programs to initiative goals are to build ing great importance in the mar- improve living conditions for quality social housing, devel- ket,” says Martha Pinto de Hart, those in need. Our World Insert is produced by United World. USA TODAY did not participate in its preparation and is not responsible for its content
  5. 5. Distributed by USA TODAY Wednesday, July 20, 2011 COLOMBIA 5Huge tracts of land hold An insatiable appetitemajor agricultural potential for innovationFamed for its fine coffee beans, Colombia’s varied terrain and climate make it From medical developments to education, information technology and biodiversity,ideal for a wide range of crops programs to spur innovation are taking Colombia forwardColombia has enormous po- perate climates. Colombia’s and other crops, such as beans, The government’s program to thanks to new government The government wants re-tential to become an agricul- best known and most impor- cocoa, wheat, barley and pota- transform the Colombian guidelines, we are exporting searchers to specialize in ar-tural super power. The country tant agricultural export is cof- toes. economy is well thought out patents and innovative ideas eas where Colombia has aboasts huge tracts of undevel- fee, which grows very well in The government recently and tackles several different, to the U.S.,” said Carlos Igna- competitive advantage. Withoped land in its interior and, the country’s warm, rainy, approved a project that will and complementary, sectors cio Granada, co-founder and its abundant forests, moun-with the proper investment, mountainous regions. invest about $450 million in at the same time. Investments general manager of Corbic. tains, coastline and rivers, thecan become as productive and Colombian coffee is famous underdeveloped regions to in agriculture and extractive The government takes its country has immense biodi-successful as the development for its smoothness and aro- help them take advantage of industries will boost output, commitment to innovation versity, and last year a dataof Brazil’s Cerrado, which ma, and commands a premi- their agricultural potential. while spending on transport very seriously, and is spending center was opened that pro-turned Colombia’s neighbor um on world commodities Most of the money coming infrastructure will make it eas- accordingly. One project will vides a single repository of in-into one of the biggest agri- markets. The U.S. buys about from the state will be spent to ier to get those products to invest about 5.5 billion pesos formation on Colombia’scultural exporters in the world. half of the country’s coffee ex- build up the regions’ road net- their markets, at home and ($3 million) on telecommuni- plants, animals and other The government has plans ports, but Colombia also sells works, while the government abroad. cations infrastructure, to im- forms of encourage that develop- expects private investors to One of the five main ‘loco- Even before the governmentment, and is working to at- ‘COLOMBIA HAS step in and invest as the trans- motives’ identified by the gov- THE GOVERNMENT started focusing on innova-tract private investment SIGNIFICANT port conditions improve. ernment as vital to growth will HAS A PLAN TO tion, there was already a big ap-alongside the state spending POTENTIAL TO Investment in infrastructure have a broad effect on the LAUNCH A SATELLITE petite to use informationthat will provide potential agri- CONTRIBUTE AS A is another important part of economy. Programs to spur THAT WILL BRING technology. In the first half ofcultural areas with the trans- PANTRY OF FOOD the government’s plans to spur innovation will help make the COMMUNICATIONS 2010 investment in the Inter-port and storage infrastructure FOR WHICH THERE the economy, and all the five whole economy more efficient SERVICES TO MORE net increased 50% from a year IS INCREASINGLY THAN 22,000necessary to move large so-called ‘locomotives’ of and operate more smoothly, earlier, and the country’s mar- STRONG DEMAND RURALamounts of food commodi- growth will interact with each producing gains for people ket for software doubled in IN THE WORLD’ COMMUNITIESties from farms to export mar- other to boost expansion and business all along the pro- size in the three years throughkets. significant amounts of the further. Another of the gov- duction chain. prove the ability of the country’s the end of 2009. “Colombia has significant beans to Germany, the ernment’s most important The country already has or- business schools and univer- Colombia has already hadpotential to contribute as a Netherlands, Spain and other policies, the redistribution of ganizations that are leading sities to share information and success exporting technolo-pantry of food for which there countries. land to Colombians, will also the way. One such pioneer is teach a new generation. gy. The country’s software de-is increasingly strong demand Other warm-weather crops help encourage agricultural Corbic, a Colombian compa- To help Colombians in the velopers specialize in businessin the world,” says Juan Cami- the country produces – and development around the coun- ny that develops cardio- remotest part of the country management and security ap-lo Restrepo, Colombia’s Min- can produce more of with the try. neurovascular medical tech- gain access to the Internet, the plications, and software ex-ister of Agriculture and Rural proper development – include “The distribution of land nology. Founded six years ago, government has a plan to ports grew 6% in 2009 from aDevelopment. bananas and plantains, rice, has a historic opportunity to it is the brainchild of five car- launch a satellite that will bring year earlier, proving that Colombia’s varied terrain cotton, sugar cane, tobacco turn the country into a major diologists and a business man- communications services to Colombia is already an inno-and climate conditions make and corn. In cooler areas the player in food production ager who saw a niche in the more than 22,000 rural com- vative country, and with stim-it an ideal country for grow- country’s land is also very fer- globally, as Brazil is also doing,” healthcare market. munities. The government’s ulus from the government ising tropical crops as well as tile and can produce a wide says Alejandro Santos, the di- “Innovation has been the goal is to put the satellite in ready to become even moreplants that grow better in tem- variety of fruits, vegetables rector of Semana Magazine. flag of our organization, space during 2013. forward-looking. Our World Insert is produced by United World. USA TODAY did not participate in its preparation and is not responsible for its content