The north Colombian Atlantico department wants to become the “Singapore of the Caribbean,” the governor told visiting functionaries from the East Asian country in Barranquilla Wednesday.
It is a wish that few would not want to see fulfilled as Singapore has pursued an almost impeccable path of development in recent decades and on the basis of GDP per capita is now richer than Italy and the United Kingdom.
The governor of the north Colombian Atlantico department Eduardo Verano, yesterday expressed a desire for his region to become the “Singapore of the Caribbean” to visiting functionaries from the East Asian country in Barranquilla. It is a wish that few would not want to see fulfilled as Singapore has pursued an almost impeccable path of development in recent decades and on the basis of GDP per capita is now richer than Italy and the United Kingdom.
Singapore, like Atlantico, swells under a humid tropical climate, lies on a strategic trade route and attaches great importance to its port (in the case of Barranquilla).
There the comparisons end, however, with Singapore’s modern high-tech economy founded on a superb education system and transport infrastructure, whereas overcrowded and underfunded schools and dusty pot-holed roads are the norm on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Governor Eduardo Verano was clearly impressed on a recent visit to Singapore with regional business and union leaders, adding that he would seriously look at what needed to be done to “transplant the Singaporean model in the Atlantic Department.”
Jocelyn Cai, director of the Singaporean Office of Trade Promotion for Latin America, offered to help Verano in his vision, stating that Singapore would “offer the tools necessary to start founding education in mathematics at primary school level and making the learning a second language obligatory”. Cai also offered assistance in technological development and achieving economic efficiency.
While such plans are interesting long-term aims, in the short term many businesses in the Atlantic Department are hoping to take advantage of improved trade cooperation with Singapore, with talks on a free trade agreement between the country and Colombia starting recently. Several businesses that currently trade with Singapore were represented at the event yesterday, such as leather exporter Franciso Mogollón, who praised the lack of bureaucracy in the Asian state to newspaper El Heraldo.