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Citizen today, April 2011 - Bogotá: Latin American success story - EY - Global

Citizen Today, April 2011

Bogotá: Latin American success story

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"“We are planning for our city to be recognized as one of the top five most important business centers in Latin America.” -- Yuri Chillán Reyes

Summary: Bogotá, capital of Colombia, is experiencing a civic and economic resurgence. Here, city deputy leader Yuri Chillán Reyes explains the reasons for its success and ambitions for the future.

A break with the past

Bogatá is one of the recent success stories in Latin America. It transformed itself from a crime riddled city to a thriving metropolis.

Bogotá 1993

Bogotá 2011

A city at the heart of Colombia's drug trafficking epidemic. As a result, violence was surging, jumping from 22 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 1985 to 80 homicides per 100,000 people in 1993, according to Colombia's Institute for Legal Medicine and Forensic Science. A city transformed. In addition to strong investment in infrastructure and a deep commitment to sustainability, crime rates have plunged and it has become one of the most attractive cities in Latin America to do business.

“In 2010, Bogotá occupied the eighth place in the ranking of América Economía Intelligence of the best cities to do business in Latin America,” city deputy leader Yuri Chillán Reyes says.

“We are planning for our city to be recognized as one of the top five most important business centers in Latin America, and the most important in the Andean region and the Caribbean, as well as a leader in the quality of life that it offers its residents.”

City vision

Chillán Reyes looks at his role as one of transformational leadership. “I want to help build a different future for Bogotá, for Colombia and our people,” he says.

“I identify myself with a vision of public management that seeks to combine the exploitation of global advantages and advances in infrastructure, technology and economic progress, with the requirements of social justice and the principles of equity and solidarity as central components of citizenship.”

Chillán Reyes and his colleagues are placing great importance on technological development, positioning Bogotá as an important center of high-tech advances and a provider of cultural, tourism and commercial services.

Sustainable development

Largely due to the environmental challenges of recent years, Bogotá’s current civic leadership has made sustainable development a priority.

“The integral strategy to reduce air pollution, which includes the improvement of the quality of the diesel that is consumed in our capital, shows significant reductions in particulate matter, one of the main pollutants,” says Chillán Reyes.

Looking to the future

For Chillán Reyes and his colleagues, much of their current work is focused toward the year 2019, which is when Colombia will celebrate two centuries of independent political life. “This is a historic and symbolic event that will invite us to reflect on our potential and future,” he says.

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