Colombia admits investing $0 of fund for development in conflict areas

Colombia admitted on Friday that it has failed to spend one dollar of an international investment fund of $210 million for sustainable development.

President Juan Manuel Santos triumphantly announced the creation of the Sustainable Colombia Fund (FCS) in September last year together with the Colombian director of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno.

Half a year later his chief of staff, Alfonso Prada, admitted that 0% of the $38.4 million budget for this year was effectively executed.

The FCS is one of five funds that seek to promote peace in Colombia following a peace agreement with Marxist FARC guerrillas in 2016.

Sponsor countries Switzerland, Norway and Sweden had demanded explanations after the government fired FCS chief Marcela Huertas six months after hiring her.

The fund managed by Huertas had failed to execute any investment projects “because it was only approved this year,” said Prada in a televised presentation presided by Vice-President Oscar Naranjo.

The president’s chief of staff said that the government is set to announce 13 projects that seek to promote sustainable development, particularly in areas that have long suffered state neglect and armed conflict.

The FCS is one of five funds that are part of the Colombia Peace Fund, which seeks to invest $46.6 billion in peace and development in the coming 15 years.

The Santos administration has come under pressure from the international sponsors of the country’s peace process and prosecutors after a series of failures in the peace process.

Independent international observers have said that less then 20% of the commitments made in the 2016 peace deal were executed in the first year of the peace process.

The prosecutor general’s office announced last week that it would investigate alleged corruption in the awarding of government contracts related to the execution of the peace process.

Suspicions of corruption and the general dysfunctionality of the state system have lowered public support for the peace process.

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