The Petro Dilemma: Implications of Colombia’s 2022 Elections for Business

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[co-authors: Andres Fernandez and Daniela Cuellar]

The first round of Colombian presidential elections will take place in May 2022. There has been concern amongst local and international business communities about the possibility of a left-wing candidate being elected, most notably Gustavo Petro ("Petro"), the former mayor of Bogotá and candidate from the Colombia Humana party. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severely negative impact on Colombia's economy, resulting in an increase in poverty and unemployment rates.

Colombia's National Administrative Department of Statistics (Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística -"DANE") revealed that last year 2.8 million people fell into extreme poverty (earning less than 145,000 per month, or US$38)1 According to the OECD, it would take 11 generations for the descendant of a poor Colombian family to attain "average income" levels in the country2. Exacerbating the recent devastating impact of COVID-19, Colombia's longstanding ailments of inequality, violent crime, inadequate state control and endemic corruption have created a real and rare opportunity for a left-leaning candidate in the upcoming elections.

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