Colombia has reasons to cry and reasons to smile

By bogotapost January 24, 2015

Reports released in January show the country’s grim realities and highlight its positives

MonicaDeGreiff, Colombian progress 2015

Mónica de Greiff , President, Cámara de Comercio de Bogota. A recently released study showed that Colombia is one of three countries in the world where your boss is more likely to be a woman. Photo: Cámara de Comercio de Bogota

Barely enough time has passed to stop having to wish everyone you see a happy new year, but that doesn’t mean various media outlets, NGOs and academic studies can’t take stock of how the country is doing so far in 2015.

Some facts and figures released this year reflect some grim realities.

For example, more than 64,500 people were officially displaced during the first half of 2014 and were awaiting to be registered; and almost 24,000 people were officially registered by the national Victims Unit, according to a UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) report release recently.

The report also said that as of June 30, 2014, 237 refugees and 150 asylum-seekers had their cases pending with Colombian government, and 215 more people applied for asylum between July and December 2014. That number is expected to rise this year.

But there are still reasons for Colombia to smile. On a brighter note, US magazine Forbes has ranked Colombia as the 8th best place in the world to retire. The business magazine recommended the 25 best countries to retire to based on their annual International Living report.

Forbes cited Colombia’s low cost of living, healthcare system, climate and biodiversity as the primary reasons for its impressive ranking in 2015. It added that a couple could live comfortably on just $1,200 USD per month in the country.

With regard to lifestyle, the publication wrote, “There is no shortage of things to do. It has the second highest biodiversity on the planet. It has beaches, jungles, deserts and steaming volcanoes. You never get bored in Colombia.”

Another area where Colombia has made great strides is in gender equality in the workplace.

According to a recent study by the International Labor Organization (ILO), Colombia is one of only three countries in the world where your boss is more likely to be  a woman. The other two countries are Jamaica and Saint Lucia.

Jamaica was ranked highest, where just under 60 percent of all managers are women, according to the ILO report. Colombia came in second place, with 53 percent of all managers being female; and Saint Lucia third, at 52.3 percent.

By Steven Grattan