The factors that make up a State should not be seen solely as independent parts, but understood in the aggregate as part of a larger functioning system. This blog has looked at many of Colombia’s characteristics and policies and now I want to explore the connections between these parts and how those interactions could have implications for the future.
Colombia, a nation once consumed by prolonged violent conflict, has overcome considerable obstacles in the past two decades. We saw how foreign assistance helped destroy organized drug networks with Plan Colombia, and more recently we have seen Bogota push boundaries further in an attempt to decrease the economic and social stratification in the city. The central factors of state decay we’ve looked at all play into each other. In Colombia, the lack of security pervaded the nation, making it difficult for the economy to succeed due to the lack of trust and extreme income inequality. Citizens were feeling uncertain about their government institutions and many lived in fear of insurgent group violence.
The turn of the millennium represents a turning point for Colombia, as it began to repair the broken systems. In addition to Plan Colombia and Bogota’s plans, the nation is working to improve and increase mobility around the nation. The Ministry of Transport has advanced extensive projects for road building, although the nation has neglected its railways. Colombia has 16 times more kilometers of roadways than railways. The nation boasts over 140,000 km of roadway, but only 874 km of railways. Inaccessibility is a boundary to economic development for Colombia. Connecting rural areas to urban areas is a crucial step for Colombia because it will facilitate stronger economic ties and hopefully, transfer and balance the wealth from cities to those rural areas.
Colombia has a strong future ahead, according to the IMF and the Brookings Institution. In an IMF report on the financial stability of Colombia, the evaluation shows that the banks and institutions are in good health and performing well. The systems appear resilient to shocks, although the IMF recognizes that a global recession is the biggest potential risk for Colombia. This month the Colombian Minister of National Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno, spoke at Brookings about the successes of Colombia and speculation on the future of the nation. The speech highlighted the lowered unemployment rate, financial independence from the US, government seizure of drugs, and improved security. Lastly, Pinzón declared that he sees peace in Colombia’s future.