President of Colombia!

9 Oct

This past Wednesday, Adriana was invited to a special lunch in sponsored by Camara de Comercio De Cali, Araujo Ibarra, Amcham Colombia, and Invest Pacific.  The purpose of the lunch was to discuss the current economic and commercial state of Cali, Colombia (Valle de Cauca – department [state] that Cali is in).  Their unemployment is around 15% now, where according to the business man next to me, the usual is 10%, so there is definitely reason to bring awareness and solvency.  At the lunch the President of Camara Commercial de Cali, which is The Cali Chamber of Commerce – a private, non-profit organization that serves a legal function to register businesses in the city of Cali and in the municipalities of Dagua, Jamundi, La Cumbre, Vijes and Yumbo, spoke regarding this issue, and hinted that spurring new business with the Pacific countries will be a key goal to helping their economy. 

 After this speech, we began to eat our very nice lunch.  However, to my surprise, as I had the dessert spoon full of Arequipa (YUM!)  in my mouth, Adriana jumps up and starts to leave the banquet room…I jump up to follow her and am pressing for reasons in my spanglish as to why were leaving so fast, I still wasn’t finished with my dessert!  However, to my amazement, we were going to a private press conference where the President of Colombia was going to give a speech regarding this topic, business in the Pacific, as well!  I couldn’t be lieve it!  AND they had ear pieces for translation!

As we got comfy in the next conference room, there were two initial speakers, Henry Loewendahl, Senior Consultor of fDI Intelligence, Financial Times, and Parag Khanna, Geopolitical International, who were both English-speaking.  Their presentations were extremely interesting, and while econ and geopolitics are not my strong suite, I was able to keep up with their main message – Latin America has an opportunity for dynamic growth with the Pacific coast and nations.  The power to any developing country is high investment in their infrastructure and diversifying their commerce with multiple countries – especially the ones forecasted for great business.

THEN, finally, the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and the ex President of Peru, Alan Garcia, plus a handful of other important people arrived and  Mr. Santos’ speech began!  To my sheer luck, there was a large black thing directly in front of the President’s head while he was at the podium from my direction of sitting, however, they did have the large screens, so I could see him in entirety up there.  President Santos spoke also to the previous information listed above, but also about strength in regions, which I found very interesting.  This is why the ex President of Peru was there, because sometime ago when he was in office, he reached out to the President of Colombia in an effort to increase their trade among one another and become a regional power in Latin America.  It is by forming these regions that they can really gain momentum and strength in their economies and global existence.  At least, this is what I understood from my ear piece after the person changed three times, lol. 

According to the program, these were the main objectives of the program, translated by google:

First International Meeting of Pacific Basin business and investment
prepare to compete in tomorrow’s economy …

*meet national government policy towards the countries that comprise the Pacific Rim;

*business projected based on trends that will guide the world economy in the coming years; and

*identify opportunities and investment commercial  inter-exchange two-way with the countries of the Pacific Rim. 

None-the-less, this was an amazing opportunity to see the President of Colombia, the ex President of Peru, and other top officials in the government and private industry of Colombia/Cali, Colombia.   Enjoy!

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