Colombia’s health, infrastructure and education sectors, among others, continue to fail in terms of international competitiveness, a report by a local economic think tank said.
Colombia was ranked number 63 out of 122 countries in terms of competitiveness by the Private Competitive Council (CPC) in 2006, and nine years on has been placed at 61 out of 140 countries indicating no advancement.
According to the Dinero economic website, Colombia said nine years ago that it would be be the third most competitive country in Latin America by 2032 with the level of income per capita equivalent to that of a middle income country.
CPC chairman Rosario Cordoba said that the problem lies not in investment, but the very low nature of productivity and its low value, along with limited diversity in exports that is mainly comprised of primary products.
“The country has failed to build the basic requirements needed to compete,” said Cordoba, adding that the government and the private sector need to maintain a good relationships because, “innovation, the adoption of existing knowledge and technology as well as the formation of a more competitive human capital are the responsibility of the private sector.”
According to the report, health and the primary education system have decreased the most in terms of competitiveness.
The CPC recommended financing the health system through the Inspector General Office’s budget to avoid informal employment. Regulating the statutory health law as soon as possible was also recommended as it could produce numerous benefits and stop the competitiveness rates from declining.
High levels of informal labor and low quality employment are also factors that reduced Colombia’s competitiveness. So were the challenges of the pension system, that could be improved through removing competition between public and private pension providers, according to the CPC.
President Juan Manuel Santos — present at the report’s presentation — allegedly accepted the suggested reforms, but also stressed that Colombia has been recognized to be the most stable democracy in Latin America.
“The institution has all types of defects, but it functions and there is governability,” said Santos.
Little has changed in the past decade for Colombia, as it remains 5th in the Latin American region for competitiveness, as it did in 2006.