This Extractivism Policy Brief argues
- The new Colombian president Gustavo Petro pushes for a transition from an extractivist to a productive economy.
- He needs to address the country’s enormous inequalities to achieve long-term peace.
- Agrarian reform and tax reform are urgent and part of the government’s plan.
- Mining will continue to be a strategic economic sector and a potential source of social conflicts that can weaken the action of the new government if a dialogue with the affected groups is not established.
- With the new commodity boom coming up, the groups within the government coalition need to negotiate their differences and unite.
Gustavo Petro’s victory in Colombia’s presidential elections, the candidate of the progressive coalition Pacto Histórico, opens a window of hope for Colombia and all of Latin America. The new government aims to transform the country from an extractivist economy to a productive one, mitigating inequalities of wealth and income while finally reaching a more peaceful society. The proposed “program for change” seeks to build a social, developmentalist, and entrepreneurial state that can promote equity and sustainability through productive diversification policies that leave extractivism behind. However, that will involve a significant increase in public spending and investment and bring many political, societal, and economic challenges for the upcoming leftist-leaning president. Most importantly, it will require the urgent implementation of agrarian reform and tax reform, demanding, therefore, a continuous unity of action among the heterogeneous coalition that supports the president.
Author: Prof. Dr. Rafael Domínguez Martín, University of Cantabria (Fellow at Extractivism.de)