Thirty large employers in Bogota have joined forces to create a foundation that seeks to promote a better future for Colombia’s capital.
The president of the ProBogota foundation is Colombia’s former Minister of Trade, Luis Guillermo Plata, who told El Tiempo newspaper that “we must move from criticism to a more involved role where we propose and support things in the city in order to make it better.”
“ProBogota is a private, nonprofit foundation created by 30 of the most important companies in the city and the country who care about the future of the capital. We believe that the city can be better and that the private sector can play an important role in its development,” said Plata.
“Discussions about ProBogota started seven years ago on the belief that the private sector must play a more important, more involved, more proactive role in the future of the city. Look at successful examples in other cities; perhaps best known in Colombia is ProAntioquia which is 40 years old. Similar private associations exist elsewhere in the world too in New York, London, Barcelona,” Plata said.
ProBogota was founded only one month ago and is in the process of establishing the organisation’s goals and priorities. Plata admits that they cannot address all important issues but will choose four or five issues to focus on.
“What we will do is propose, study, counsel and support initiatives that seem worthwhile to implement. I believe that, in general, in other countries the private sector has played a more proactive role than in Colombia. This marks an important trend that we would like to also be involved with.”
|“Bogota is a city with great potential, and deserves to grow and develop faster which the private sector can achieve.”|
“Note the case of Medellin; when the city was in a bad state, entrepreneurs said come on, let’s get together and make Medellin a thriving city, and that was 40 years ago. You look at Medellin today and it is a very prosperous city. That is created over time. We do not achieve results in two or three years but in the long term,” Plata said.
Plata feels that Bogota is not where it should be. “Bogota is a city with great potential and deserves to grow and develop faster which the private sector can achieve,” he told the Portofolio newspaper.
With regards to the trade performance of the country Plata said that several things concerned him; “falling commodity prices, the fall of Colombian exports, but above all, we’re not turning over the Colombian production system, we continue to export the same things we did 20 and 30 years ago.”
Critics have reportedly accused the foundation of doing nothing but promote the individual members’ own interests but Plata maintains that that is not the case. “ProBogota is not a guild and so can not defend the particular interests of a partner. ProBogota is not expected to represent the interests of its members to any third party. It seeks to represent the general interest of the city.”
- ‘El sector privado quiere jugar un rol más activo’ (El Tiempo)
- ‘El país requiere un vuelco en su aparato productivo’ (Portofolio)