Fomer Colombian Minister of Finance Rodrigo Botero: Almost 50 years of violence and strife have been the key to Colombia’s economic success

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For Rodrigo Botero, Former Colombian Minister of Finance, his country has achieved what few others have yet to prove - success based on institutional memory of almost 50 years of violence and crime related to the FARC.
Guest Post from Andrea M. Cornejo (@andreamcornejo), chief editor and founder of social entrepreneurship publication EmprendeSocial

At the MIT Latin American Conference, high ranking heads of states with overviews of prosperity in the region were in abundance.  For Rodrigo Botero, Former Colombian Minister of Finance, his country has achieved what few others have yet to prove – success based on institutional memory of almost 50 years of violence and crime related to the FARC.

  • Marriage of technocrats and politicians – In a crude turn of irony, Colombia has successfully achieved a political atmosphere that avoids dismantling the economic team.  The political atmosphere does not resist counsel and consistently accepts input from technocrats.
  • Geographic diversity that provides oversight – The regional diversity and political decentralization that is evident in Colombia due to more than forty years of violence from las FARC and other drug-related violence has given way to a new urban settlement.  This increasingly diversified demographic acts  as a checks and balances system for the country’s capital, Bogotá.
  • A rising middle class – A combination of ample need and lacking government resources has lead to the rise of a middle class of entrepreneurs.  These social innovators has risen to the challenge of  to providing sanitation, establishing market mechanisms and other social capital that is conducive to democrative form of governance.
  • Security – The 1980 epoch where FARC could blow up oil fields belonging to Exxon are long gone.  Especially in the past decade, out of necessity but with a long-term strategy in mind, Colombia has massively increased its security.   In turn, this has brought large amounts of foreign direct investment to the nation.  And so long as multinationals feel there is no threat, there will be more to come.
  • Institutionalized change – Botero remarks that Colombia’s development transformation cannot be due to its solid economic management. There are comparable emerging nations endowed with brilliant economists. The difference in performance is due to a difference in learning curves.  The unique political and social hardships that have characterized Colombia for more than one generation have been around longer than they have for other countries.  And most importantly, they have created institutional memory – the building of institutions guarantee the stable and distributed power.

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Andrea Cornejo

Columna invitada. Emprendedora social peruana y especialista en desarrollo económico y la evolución de impacto. Fundadora de varias iniciativas, entre ellas EmprendeSocial y Proyecto Viña Vieja. Directora de Coderise. Twitter @andreamcornejo.