On the final day of the World Economic Forum held in the coastal city of Cartagena, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe expressed his gratitude for the event’s “record-breaking” attendance and said it was a demonstration of “trust in our country,” reported Colombian media on Thursday.
The Colombian president closed the three-day event, saying that the forum’s success demonstrated the growing confidence in the country as an investment destination.
“I have been informed that we have beaten the attendance record. If we compare that with the meeting held in Brazil and the meeting held in Mexico, we have beaten a record with more than 550 high-level investors from 44 countries and 250 international economic journalists,” said Uribe on the last day of the forum.
He added, “We have put all our efforts over these years in building trust in Colombia. Hosting this meeting in Cartagena is an expression of trust in our country, one we must live up to. When it comes to investment trust, hosting this meeting is a milestone.”
President Uribe used the WEF as a venue to strengthen diplomatic ties between Colombia and other South American nations, including Paraguay and the Dominican Republic.
After holding a bilateral meeting with Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, Uribe said that the countries were on good diplomatic terms.
“Paraguay welcomed Colombia’s efforts in the fight against drug-trafficking, the FARC and crime, and the efforts to restore public order and peace in the country,” said the Colombian president.
According to reports, Uribe held talks with the Dominican leader Leonel Fernandez, focusing on the energy sector of the economy.
At the start of the meeting President Uribe also referred to the problematic relationship between Colombia and other South American countries, when he warned against investment in “new communist” nations.
“I see with concern that there are sectors of world capitalism, in the private sector, in governments and companies, which show permisiveness to the new plebiscite communists.”
Uribe’s comments were widely interpreted in Colombian media as referring to Venezuela and Bolivia, which have increased state control over the economy and appealed to the population directly through plebiscites.
The 2010 WEF was attended by representatives from international companies such as Ernst & Young, McDonalds, British American Tobacco, Dell, General Electic, Nestle and Bank Of America, with topics covered during the event including economic outlook, social investment, crime fighting and intra-regional trade.