Written By Guest Author Robert Riley
Patrice Cortes Ortiz is the Colombian Ambassador to Ireland and is Ireland’s first resident Colombian Ambassador. She spoke to Ellen Gunning on the Media scope radio programme this week about the similarities between the two countries and how they can grow together. She hopes to expand and create opportunities for people who living in both countries and work together to create something special. With Colombia having 10 times the population of Ireland, the Irish population could really benefit form working with companies and organisations in the South American region. Generally speaking, Ireland underestimates the potential of working with Colombia. It is a very biodiverse country and is twice the size of France.
Change and Progress in Columbia
Colombia has changed a lot over recent years for the better as there has been relative peace in the country following a peace process with the FARC guerillas. Ambassador Cortez remarks on the similarity between the Irish and the Columbian experiences in implementing a peace process and the challenges it brings. She credits the strong democratic institutions for bringing Columbia through this difficult period. Columbia has gone from strength to strength and joined the OCED in 2020, which allows it to work with countries from all over the world to grow their economy and improve sustainability. Patricia Cortez in committed to reaching out and introducing all that Columbia has to offer.
Communicating the Opportunities
Ambassador Cortez speaks passionately about her country and the opportunities it offers. From the point of view of tourism, it is four countries on one, reaching from the Caribbean beaches to the Andes, from the Eastern plains the Amazon. It has a talented workforce and fantastic opportunities for foreign investment. The Ambassador is reaching out in Ireland to create ties through business, education and culture, showcasing Columbia’s music, literature and coffee culture!
Women are playing lead roles in Columbia’s future, the Vice President, Marta Lucia Cortez is an example of this. There is a strong push to build entrepreneurism in Columbia and Ambassador Cortez is proud of the drive to ensure that women are given the opportunity to be part of this initiative. There is a government fund set up to help women start small business. This fund is exclusively for women and is valued €100m. There is also general funding for those wanting to start businesses, but to have such a large amount just for female entrepreneurs shows a real commitment to empowering women in business.
7% Growth in 2022
Columbia has a great representative and communicator in its Ambassador to Ireland. Patricia Cortez has laid out the opportunities for strong cultural and business connections between the two countries. With and expect growth rate of 7% this year, a market of 50 million people, Columbia will be attracting plenty of attention. If you would like to know more, take a look at the Embassy website
Listen to the episode here