Bucaramanga, Colombia (AP) – Colombian President Ivan Duque seeks to attract the attention of foreign investment to revitalize his country’s economy during a working visit in Washington and New York where he holds high-level meetings with managers of international financial entities and businessmen.
The president said Monday at an event at the US Chamber of Commerce, where he added that he sees investment opportunities in vaccines against COVID-19, the energy transition, infrastructure, tourism and artificial intelligence.
The president expected the Colombian economy to grow this year by “more than 7%,” which would represent an improvement after a 6.8% contraction recorded in 2020, according to official statistics.
Duque admitted that he ran into problems a few months ago when demonstrations against his first tax reform spread and they pressured him to withdraw it. But he stressed that the new reform approved in September would raise 1.8% of GDP.
“What if it has a huge political cost? Yes, but I do not participate in a popular program nor in a re-election that is no longer in Colombia. So I decided to make the most difficult and unpopular decisions,” Duque added.
After an exclusive meeting with Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, the President told the press that they had talked about the extension of the flexible line to Colombia and the possibility of enabling financing possibilities for environmental issues, without an agreement yet being reached.
In addition, the President indicated that financing commitments were secured with the World Bank in the amount of $ 2 billion for this year, after a meeting with the head of the entity, David Malpass. The funding program for 2022 could be worth between $1,200 and $2,000 million and will have four themes: climate change, support for the biodiversity agenda, strengthening the post-pandemic health system, and the youth agenda.
The president will also hold meetings with Mauricio Clavier Caroni, president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and businessman Howard Buffett, who has made millions of investments in conflict-affected areas of Colombia.
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