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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia Stands Apart
Former Venezuela Minister of Ministers Beatrice Rangel on Camelot in Colombia as President Ivan Duque fertilizes change and creativity to capture the latent intellectual power of his country.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Creative growth is not a familiar concept among the powerful. As matter of fact, creativity seems to be held at ransom by most political leaders who -- frightened by the first wave of technology -- would rather suppress it altogether.

Take for instance Boris Johnson, who au lieu of searching for a creative solution to the Brexit conundrum chose to embark himself with Her Majesty in a bureaucratic twist that suppressed Parliament.

The U.K. Supreme Court called out the bluff to further the already destructive chaos enveloping the UK for the last three years.

In the U.S., our unpredictable president most probably is enjoying the sudden decision of the Democrats in Congress to open an impeachment inquiry. This will probably fire up his base and trigger an electoral mobilization that could account for his reelection.

Creativity would have counseled the democrats to hold back on the impeachment while funding the infamous wall in the southern border to destroy his narrative and defuse mobilization.

And as the so-called developed world muddles through the Digital Age without leaders that understand change nor see the opportunities that it creates to extend development, emerging markets are beginning to experience a qualitative leap in leadership.

This is the case of countries like the Maldives whose now retired president Mohammed Nasheed led that country to its current carbon neutral status. In so doing he resolved the energy dilemma and created thousands of jobs that increased GDP tenfold.

In Latin America we have Ivan Duque, a president that, for a change, believes in creativity and in the rule of law. His participation at U.N. General Assembly placed him in a league of his own. He did not of waste time speaking to an audience of creativity averting diplomats but used his time talking to students in universities and colleges nested in the Big Apple. Instead of accusing his truly rogue neighbor, Venezuela, Duque produced a well-founded report full of evidence of unending instances into which the government of Venezuela performs or supports criminal activities, including securing financing to terrorist groups and giving haven to others; trafficking with drugs, people and dangerous minerals; and laundering money for international organized crime.

Those who have had access to the report have commented that not even Scotland Yard could do a better job. Therefore, the UN decided to create an inquiry commission to investigate Venezuela's criminal activity.

In Colombia his leadership is making a difference. Mr Duque pushed and succeeded in issuing a $150M "Orange Bond" to finance 3,200 new ventures thriving in creative industries linked to entertainment. Mr Duque correctly read the transformational signs embedded in the world economy. Ever since 1950 ,entertainment services have grown at 7% rate. Consequently, entertainment is embedded in every economic activity.

Entertainment is at the root of Apple's success and Zara's rise in the apparel industry. Entertainment permeates travel, trade, transportation and manufacture. Duque has identified Colombia's comparative advantage in entertainment and is supporting this trend.

Under his presidency "creative economic endeavors" have risen to represent 1.7% of GDP. Coffee -- the commodity that has defined Colombia for centuries -- represents 0.8% of GDP. The creative economy employs 600,000 Colombia's.

According to Mr Duque, "we need to place our bets on this economic concept as means to create jobs in this automation era. There of course is AI eliminating jobs but those in the creative economy will withstand as there will never be artificial creativity."

And reality seems to back this assertion, as Latin music has taken over the world of music. Visual arts were revolutionized by the kinetic art forged in Latin America, and the region has won 6 Nobel awards in Literature, not to speak about the host of singers and performers that populate pop music and the performing arts. Mr Duque therefore has finally isolated the competitive gene in the Latin ethos.

Meanwhile in the U.S. no one seems to understand that children are better off in terms of accessing jobs by learning robotics and hydroponic farming instead of being tested every other minute. And this explains why there is an opioid crisis.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.


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