Colombia’s finance minister has committed to a shift away from oil production and coal mining, instead restoring industries such as textiles, fertilisers, metalworking and pharmaceuticals.
Speaking with the Financial Times, Ricardo Bonilla said the country is “very interested in foreign investment that is not so concentrated in oil and coal but in industry”.
“We have to rebuild the industrial apparatus to be able to have that production in Colombia […] That does not mean that we do not buy goods but that we want the possibility of a more equal exchange.
“Colombia’s performance has been deficient [in recent decades] due to the conviction that it was more important for Colombians to consume cheap imported products than for us to try to produce them,” he told reporters.
Bonilla took office on 1 May following a cabinet reshuffle. He formerly served as Petro’s finance minister when he was the mayor of Bogotá.
Environmentally conscious policy
Colombia is Latin America’s third-largest oil producer and fourth-largest economy. Colombian President Gustavo Petro has sought to reduce the country’s oil production in recent years amid environmental concerns.
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According to analysis from GlobalData, crude oil production in Colombia is expected to decline by an average of 5.6% in the next three years and reach more than 676,300 barrels of crude oil per day by 2023. Petro hopes to accelerate the move away from fossil fuels.
During an address at Stanford University last month, Petro expressed concern that “we are living in times that are the beginning of the extinction of humankind”. The president is the first leftist to be elected in the country, and a former guerrilla.
According to GlobalData, Colombia is the 12th-largest producer of coal globally. The country currently has 32 million tonnes of announced capacity. According to Global Energy Monitor (GEM), if the country’s proposed mines are developed 216 thousand tonnes per year of addition methane could be released.
While the Colombian Government has expressed its enthusiasm for a transition to clean energy GEM states that “insufficient corporate transparency remains a significant hurdle for conducting emission assessments and a phaseout of coal”.