Colombia: New projects and old divisions | Analyst Picks | RiskMap 2020
New projects and old divisions
Colombia is a country where citizens are losing trust in institutions, and the role of the private sector is becoming more important than ever. People are growing tired of traditional political institutions, with 75% of Colombians holding a negative opinion of Congress, and 79% saying they dislike political parties, according to an August 2019 poll by Gallup. A vast majority (79%) distrust the judicial system, and nearly half (45%) dislike the press. Most people still have a favourable opinion of the security forces: 58% support the army, and 43% approve of the police, but these are the lowest favorability levels for these institutions in 20 years. The private sector has also suffered a loss of popularity in the past decade, but 49% of Colombians still view entrepreneurs positively, and 58% believe the country needs to attract more foreign investment.
The risks to Colombia’s future are stark at a critical historical juncture. The country is struggling with several factors: cementing a 2016 peace agreement with leftist guerrillas; tackling drug-trafficking armed groups; and growing social unrest. Leftist politicians are gaining more acceptance among a population with a centre-right voting tradition. The two most popular politicians remain Sergio Fajardo (with a 48% approval rating), who is centre-left, and Gustavo Petro, a populist leftist who enjoys approval of 38% and climbing.
Colombia still enjoys a strong rule of law, respect for private property and a largely pro-business political class. Whether companies engage with communities, offer products and services with transparency, and care for the security of their employees and customers will largely determine if Colombians continue to believe in wealth creation, or if they increasingly embrace the politics of division and populism.