Colombia Society and Economy

By | December 15, 2021

Overlooking both oceans that bathe Latin America and located close to the Panama Canal, Colombia occupies a strategic position in the American hemisphere. This is all the more true if we consider that, over time, Colombia has concentrated on itself the major elements of tension that cross the area: drug trafficking, the guerrilla warfare against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the USA system of regional alliances. Add to this the growing demographic weight, which makes it the second country of the subcontinent behind Brazil, its extraordinary wealth of strategic raw materials and the military system strengthened by regular US supplies and trained by decades of war against the insurgents., you get a picture of the country’s great potential and exceptional geopolitical importance. To date, its full expression has been limited by chronic political violence, combined with the weak presence of the state in many areas of a vast and heterogeneous territory.

Population and society

The high rates of demographic growth that still characterized Colombia a few decades ago, exceeding 3% in the 1960s, are now significantly reduced, dropping to 1.3%. In the meantime, the country has almost reached 49 million residents, making it a demographic power, second in the South American continent only to unattainable Brazil. For Colombia society, please check

On the social level, Colombia has always been characterized by a strong gap between potential wealth and widespread poverty and by the high concentration of well-being. The lack of affirmation of strong reformist currents in the course of political history, mostly dominated by small elites, helps to explain the strong social differences that still characterize society, with its particularly conservative features. In the last decade, sustained economic growth has led to a significant reduction in the poverty rate, considering that the number of people living on less than $ 2 a day dropped from 31.7% in 2000 to 12% in 2012. Economic inequalities were, along with the peace process, the other topic at the center of the 2014 election campaign. Despite strong opposition, the majority of Colombians seem to have rewarded the outgoing president and economic reforms. Directly linked to the aforementioned issues is the scourge of displaced people from internal warfare, over three million Colombians forced to seek refuge in other regions or cities. Their arrival aggravated the problems associated with the lack of basic social services.

Economy, energy and environment

The Colombian economic landscape is characterized by lights and shadows. Positive is not only the enormous potential of the country, rich in resources underground, but also its constant growth over the years and the macroeconomic discipline which its governments have followed. Among the negative aspects are the endemic violence (decreasing in recent years), the pervasive dimension of the illegal economy and the still extensive bands of social marginalization.. Since these latter factors have not stopped development, we can speak of a solid economy, but there is no doubt that they have limited or distorted its evolution, inhibiting a greater flow of foreign investments and limiting the virtuous effects of growth. However, political stability and the decrease in violence and insecurity experienced in the last decade have helped to reverse the trend, making Colombia one of the most attractive South American countries for foreign capital, so much so that foreign direct investment has more than doubled. in just five years, from 2010 to 2015.

In energy matters, Colombia relies on oil to cover just over 40% of its needs. The governments of the last decade have adopted important reforms in this regard, including the partial privatization of the state oil company, thus succeeding in attracting large foreign capital and increasing production, which is increasingly exported. Colombia has also achieved notable successes in the production of coal, of which there are enormous reserves (second in South America only to those of Brazil) and which contributes 12.4% of exports. In the last decade, production has doubled and the export of coal, a commodity whose internal consumption is minimal, produces about a quarter of the income that Colombia derives from foreign trade. Finally, on the environmental policy front, Colombia can boast some important successes. Although the use of alternative renewable energy sources is still modest, the extensive use of hydroelectric energy, which does not generate harmful emissions, and the protection of about 10% of the national territory, through the creation of natural parks, mean that Colombia is in an excellent position in the world ranking of environmental performance. In fact, in July 2015, Colombia was the first South American country to deposit its national commitment (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution – Indc) within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in view of the Conference of the Parties which was held in Paris at the end of 2015. The good economic performance and the regained regional political weight have allowed Colombia to move towards a road to greater regional cooperation. This is the case of the Pacific Alliance (April 2011) between Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. This new organization, in addition to promoting greater integration between the signatory states regarding the free circulation of goods, services, capital and people, is proposed as a new strategic platform projected towards the dynamic realities of Asia-Pacific. In addition, Colombia has made a path of trade liberalization also with extra-regional powers:USA, while a Free Trade Treaty was signed with the European Union in 2012. Colombia is not part of the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership as the United States, promoters of the agreement, have decided to give priority to the member states of the APEC.

Colombia Society