Though the western department of Choco currently has the highest unemployment rate in the country, it is also one country’s most rich regions in biodiversity.
103 national and international delegates met in the department’s capital Quibdo to discuss the unexploited touristic gem and how they could convert the department to generate more employment.
Colombian Labor Minister Rafael Pardo said that Choco could be a world center for biodiversity, it’s one of the things that differentiates the department from other zones of the country and could be extremely important in generating stable employment. Choco is also the only Colombian department to have coastlines on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Mayor of Quibdo, Zulia Maria Mena, said that the city has 114 thousand habitants, many of which make up the younger generation, and the unemployment rate of the department is over 18%. She stressed the importance of establishing an equal relationship with the national government in terms of unemployment.
“We’re not saying that they don’t give us anything. We’re simply asking that we move forward together with all of this potential from water rich flaura and fauna, along with the human talent in this region, which is the only one in the country with two seas,” said the mayor.
There are also those such as Carmen Moreno, director of the International Organization of Work, that believe Choco could be converted into a place with a tourist attraction equal to if not greater than that of the coastal city Cartagena.
“I love Cartagena, but I would definitely stick with Choco,” said Moreno.
Official figures show that the city of Quibdo has the highest level of unemployment in the country, the highest rate of 10 to 12 year old girls pregnant, a high level of alcoholism in young adults, and a very high percentage of the population without access to potable water.
Despite politicians formerly believing that it was a waste of time to invest in Choco, many delegates now believe that by taking advantage of the vast biodiversity in the region, the department could generate a higher amount of employment and improve the overall quality of life in the region.