Colombia’s Mauricio Cardenas has been voted 2015’s best Finance Minister by economics magazine Euromoney for his “fiscal credibility and investment plans.”
According to the publication, Cardenas has been awarded the title decided by 400 experts due to his ability to continue to implement policies while emerging markets have been suffering from economic slow down due to a drop in commodity prices and the cooling down of the Chinese economy.
“Cardenas’ fiscal credibility and investment plans have bolstered the country’s defenses amid the emerging market rout, while boasting the best economic growth in the region.”
During a period of global economic down turn, Euromoney praised Cardenas for implementing policies that could protect the Colombian economy.
“Cardenas has built up Colombia’s external defenses, boosted the fiscal framework, and sought to diversify the economy. In office since September 2012, and promptly re-installed in Santos’ second term in 2014, Cárdenas is rightly credited for his deft stewardship of the economy, which has been the growth leader for Latin America in recent years expanding 4.9% in 2013, 4.6% in 2014, while a slower but still-decent pace of expansion is expected this year at 3.2%.”
With a 60% fall in oil prices that accounted for more than half of the country’s exports, the Colombian peso has strongly depreciated, threatening the future of the country’s economic growth.
According to Euromoney, Cardenas has “deftly navigated” Colombia through this period of economic struggle, and according to a Washington think tank, “he issued sharp warnings that China’s rapacious appetite for commodities might have delayed structural reform and efforts to boost savings and investments across Latin America.”
In an interview with Euromoney in 2014 Cardenas explained his pro-market policy. “We are sticking to the fiscal rule, which we think is fundamental for our economic credibility. The framework we have has allowed Colombia to gain better access to the financial markets – we have a higher credit rating than we had four years ago and the interest we pay on our bonds is much lower so the fiscal rule is something we will defend.”
When asked by El Tiempo newspaper what key economic decision he made that earned him the prize, Cardenas explained that it was “intelligent austerity” measures he introduced earlier this year to curb the economic slowdown.
Colombia’s economy was prepared for the oil shock by putting an emphasis on fiscal discipline regarding economic management.